Fri, 8 Jan, 2021

Highly infectious UK COVID strain touches down in WA and QLD

Highly infectious UK COVID strain touches down in WA and QLD

Greater Brisbane is undergoing a strict three-day lockdown after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive to the COVID-19 highly infectious UK strain.

The woman developed symptoms on Wednesday and was tested, though health authorities believe that she has been infectious since the 2nd of January.

“We know that this UK strain is highly infectious. It is 70 per cent more infectious and we are going to go hard and we are going to go early to do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

“Greater Brisbane will be entering a 3-day lockdown. That will be Metro North, Metro South, West Moreton.

“The areas that will be declared Greater Brisbane will be the council areas of Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton, and Redlands.

“From 6 pm tonight, Friday, to 6 pm Monday all residents living in those areas will be required to stay at home.”

Chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young has advised that Queenslanders angry about the lockdown need to look to the UK for potential consequences.

"We do have to be preventive because we know that the level of infection is very high in this particular variant. We have to act differently to what we had before. Any delay could see significant, if not catastrophic results," Dr Young told reporters.

"We are now seeing this new UK variant spreading throughout the world, including Europe and the United States and now here in Australia.

"If we waited until Monday afternoon, in three days' time, we don't want to be standing here saying – 'if only' because if we have, multiple cases, by that stage, it is highly likely that we would struggle to get it under control. We cannot take that risk."

The UK strain is also in Western Australia, as a coronavirus patient is confirmed to have the highly contagious strain.

She arrived in WA from the UK on Tuesday and went into hotel quarantine, but has since been taken to hospital.

WA Premier Mark McGowan has assured WA residents there is no risk to the public despite the "flabbergasting" breaches of protection protocols.

"We've seen outbreaks occur around Australia and around the world through staff who work in quarantine hotels and those sorts of facilities," Mr McGowan said.

"We don't want to see that happen here."