Australia

South-east Queensland wakes to first full day in lockdown amid Delta cluster fears

South-east Queenslanders have woken to their first of three more lockdown days after recording six new locally acquired COVID-19 cases linked to a high school student.

The new cases were confirmed to be of the highly infectious Delta strain, and are linked to a 17-year-old who tested positive to the virus on Friday.

The new infections are the family members of that case, plus a tutor of one of those family members.

Stay-at-home orders are now in place for Brisbane City, Moreton Bay Gold Coast, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Noosa, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset and Sunshine Coast.

They are currently set to end on Tuesday at 4pm.

“Stay at home and do not leave, unless it is absolutely critical,” Queensland’s chief health officer Jeanette Young said on Saturday morning.

The state’s health minister, Yvette D’Ath, said she made no apology for the speed and strictness of the orders.

“If you want to prevent the spread of the Delta virus, you have to go hard and you have to go fast,” she said.

“Just over five days, we have an entire household of five people affected, and one of them had passed it onto another teacher.

“In Sydney, we saw what happened. From one case, 38 days later they are at 3,000 cases from that one person. Sadly, 13 people have died from that one cluster. We have to get this right.

“We have been here before. We know what we have to do.”

Dr Young said it is hoped the lockdown only lasts for three days, but that will depend on compliance with the lockdown rules.

The lockdown extends to anyone who was in one of the 11 LGAs as of 1am Saturday, so even if they have since travelled to another part of Queensland they must abide by the restrictions. 

Tasmania has also shut its border to the 11 LGAs. Visitors to the state from Queensland who have arrived since 17 July will also be under stay-at-home orders for three days.

“If you’re in Tasmania, and we expect there are probably about 11,000 people who have travelled into the state, you should immediately go home and isolate,” Premier Peter Gutwein said. 

Meanwhile, NSW Health has ordered anyone in NSW who has been in the 11 affected LGAs since 21 July to stay at home for 14 days since they were last there, or until the notice is revoked.

The ACT government also has a stay-at-home requirement in place for anyone who has been in the LGAs after 21 July. They must stay at home until the lockdown ends or advised otherwise by ACT Health.

Victoria has declared the 11 Queensland LGAs red zones under the state’s permit system. It means Victorians returning from the LGAs after 8pm Saturday must quarantine for 14 days and non-residents need an exemption to enter the state.

10-km limit and masks in schools 

Among the new rules is a 10-kilometre travel restriction to reduce the movement of people.

“I don’t know today where this virus is in the south-east of Queensland. But wherever it is, I don’t want it to go further,” Dr Young said.

Exceptions to the 10-kilometre limit apply for compassionate circumstances, such as looking after a vulnerable person.

“Of course, use that common sense, which I know people do … But just minimise movement, if you can,” Dr Young said.

People doing exercise can do so with one person who does not live with them.

Funerals and weddings in the lockdown zone are now limited to 10 people and hospitality is takeaway only. Cinemas, hairdressers, gyms and places of worship have to close.

All schools in the lockdown zone will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, while all staff and students of Indooroopilly High School and Ironside State School are in quarantine for two weeks.

Schools will be open on Monday and Tuesday for the children of essential workers and for children who are vulnerable.

A pop-up testing clinic has been set up at Indooroopilly High School.

Health workers swab members of the public at a pop-up COVID-19 testing station at Indooroopilly State High School in Brisbane

AAP

Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski has urged people to carry proof of residence on them as police check compliance with the 10-kilometre limit.

“We will, as we always have, take an educative approach and work with people. So, if you’re trying to do the right thing, you will be looked after. If you choose to do the wrong thing, there are strong consequences,” he said, referencing fines of $1,378.

He warned people against attending any protests, adding that officers will be monitoring events this weekend.

“I’m also informed through our intelligence that there are people planning to protest in the CBD of Brisbane tomorrow. Can I say really clearly now is not the time. Now is not the time for protests in our community,” he said.

“We ask that you do not go ahead with those protests. You can expect a police presence and you can expect the police to make sure that the chief health officer’s directions are obeyed.”

A full list of the state’s exposure sites can be viewed here.

Sporting chaos

The announcement plunged several sporting codes into chaos.

Three AFL matches have been relocated: Saturday’s Gold Coast-Melbourne and Essendon-Sydney fixtures, plus Sunday’s GWS-Port Adelaide contest.

The Suns will now take on the Demons at Marvel Stadium early on Sunday afternoon as part of a double header, with the Giants to face the Power later at the same venue, while Essendon will host Sydney at the MCG. All three games will be behind closed doors.

In the NRL, where 15 of the competition’s 16 teams are based in south-east Queensland, desperate attempts were made to hold Saturday’s three matches before the decision was made to postpone them.

The league was still hopeful of rescheduling those matches to Sunday, with the potential of moving teams into regional areas or interstate. 

The Super Netball competition is also impacted, having relocated entirely to south-east Queensland to complete its 2021 campaign after lockdowns in South Australia, Victoria and NSW.

In a statement, Netball Australia chief executive Kelly Ryan confirmed the competition would not relocate again and was hopeful of completing the season.

With AAP.

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