Woman returns to Queensland with Delta variant

Tracey FerrierAAP
VideoQueensland records new COVID-19 cases

A Queensland woman has imported the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 after becoming infected at a Melbourne pub.

Public health alerts have been issued for the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, and locations in the far north after the woman returned to Queensland to see her family.

She’d been studying in Victoria and went to Melbourne’s Young and Jackson Hotel on July 10, where she caught the virus. Three days later she returned to her home state for a holiday.

She was staying with friends at Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast on July 15 when she got a text from Victorian authorities advising she’d been at an exposure site and to get tested immediately.

But she returned a negative test and went about her business, going shopping and dining out. The next day she caught an Uber, a bus and a train to Brisbane airport before boarding Virgin Australia flight VA791 to Cairns.

It was while she was staying with family at nearby Mareeba that she noticed symptoms and got tested again, returning a positive result late on Monday night.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young believes she was infectious in the community from July 15 and probably until July 17, and is waiting on test results to understand the level of risk Queensland is facing.

She said the woman, aged in her 20s, was fully vaccinated and wore a mask while she was out and about, and while she was on public transport and the flight to Cairns.

“She’s had both doses of the vaccine, which does reduce the risk but it doesn’t remove the risk,” Dr Young told reporters on Tuesday.

“I’m most concerned about her household contacts in Maroochydore and up in Mareeba.. As soon as we’ve got those results ... that will give me a sense of what the risk is.”

Dr Young is also worried about anyone who dined at the popular Rice Boi restaurant at The Wharf, at Mooloolaba between 6.45pm and 8pm on Thursday, July 15.

She says they must get tested immediately and isolate until public health officials make contact.

She has also urged people to be vigilant if they were at the Sunshine Coast Plaza shopping centre that same day, between 3.55pm and 4.15pm.

Contact tracing is underway for everyone onboard flight VA791 from Brisbane to Cairns on July 16.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath linked the woman’s infection back to the expanding outbreak in NSW.

“We now have transmission from that NSW cluster in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland,” she said.

Ms D’Ath urged people not to leave the state and said Queenslanders who are currently elsewhere should get home quickly, in case the situation deteriorates further.

“We now have a 10-fold increase in cases across Australia in five weeks. We are now at 1360 cases across Australia, where only five weeks ago we were down to 127.”

Two new overseas acquired cases were also detected in hotel quarantine.

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