Queensland has commenced a snap three-day lockdown after Health Officer Jeannette Young admitted the virus “could be anywhere” in south-east Queensland, due to just one person.
The terrifying nature of the outbreak centres around a medical student, who “travelled widely through Brisbane” while infectious as the state announced six new infections, taking the total to seven cases.
Speaking at the snap press conference, Dr Young warned there will be an “enormous number of exposure sites” all through Brisbane, as well as through the Sunshine Coast and further out.
She revealed that one of the new cases, a medical student at the University of Queensland was a tutor for that 17-year-old whose case was announced on Friday, whose family members are also now infected.
She said the medical student had been to a “lot of venues”.
“I suspect – although it’s hard to know because of the very rapid transmission time frames – I suspect that medical student is the index case and has taken it into that household, and then it has spread within that household,” she said.
Exposure sites include Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital at the University of Queensland and at the Translational Research Institute at the PA, while the medical student also has a sibling who works in a hospital.
“Then we have the child, the youngest child in that family attends Ironside School, and one of the teachers there is already positive,” added Dr Young.
“So, we yesterday put all of these students and staff who attended the high school – the Indooroopilly State High School – into 14 days’ quarantine. We will be doing the same today with all students and staff who have attended Ironside School.”
QLD Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said over just five days, an entire household of five people were infected.
“So, we know how dangerous Delta is. We know it can spread quicker than any other variant we have dealt with over the last 18 months,” she said.
“National Cabinet and the health ministers were presented this week with the Doherty Institute modelling, and it now shows if you want to manage this, if you want to stop the spread, you must go hard and you must go fast. We have one chance to get this under control and we need everyone – everyone – to work with us to make this happen.”
She added that NSW had seen the devastating impact of the Delta variant.
“New South Wales had one case on 16 June. 38 days later, they are at 3000 cases. From that one person, 38 days, 3,000 cases. Sadly, 13 people have died just from that one cluster,” she said.
“We have to get this right. We know Queenslanders will do the right thing. We’ve been here before. We know what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to be more vigilant, more compliant than we’ve ever been before.”
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles confirmed all the cases have contracted the Delta strain, which has been driving the outbreak in Sydney.
“We know from that experience that this Delta strain can spread very, very quickly. It is much more dangerous than the previous strains that we have been dealing with,” he said.
“It means these new cases mean that there are now seven cases in the outbreak that we notified yesterday. We have seen from the experience in other states that the only way to beat the Delta strain is to move quickly, to be fast, and to be strong.”
Ms D’Ath called for people to stay home and if they are unwell, even with the slightest cough or sore throat, to go get tested.
The Queensland lockdown applies to 11 LGAs of concern from 4pm Saturday.
The LGAs are as follows; Brisbane City, Moreton Bay Regional Council, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley Regional Council, Logan City, Noosa Shire Council, Redland City, Scenic Rim Regional Council, Somerset Regional Council and Sunshine Coast Regional Council.
People can only leave home for four reasons – to obtain essential goods like groceries and medications – but only within 10km of their homes, for essential work or childcare, medical care and exercise.