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Covid 19 coronavirus: Queensland moves into lockdown as Delta variant spreads

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has placed eastern parts of the state into a three-day snap lockdown.

From 6pm tonight until 6pm on Friday, southeast Queensland, Townsville, Palm Island and Magnetic Island will go into lockdown.

The 11 southeast Queensland local government areas affected by the stay-at-home orders are Noosa, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Logan, Redlands, Moreton Bay, Brisbane, Gold Coast, the Scenic Rim, Lockyer Valley and Somerset.

The Premier announced the move at Tuesday’s Covid-19 update, having foreshadowed on Monday that the state was “on the verge” of lockdown due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

The stay-at-home orders make Queensland the fourth jurisdiction to impose a lockdown in response to latest outbreak, following NSW, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

“As I said yesterday, we are not just fighting one outbreak, we are focusing on a number and some more information has come to light today. We are now dealing with multiple scenarios [and] it’s time for us to act quickly and to act fast,” Palaszczuk said.

There were two new community-acquired cases in Queensland overnight, including a 19-year-old casual receptionist who works at Prince Charles Hospital.

The woman lives at Sandgate and visited a Woolworths and a gym while infectious. She had also visited Magnetic Island in Townsville at the end of last week, and attended the Sunday markets there.

Palaszczuk said it was still not clear which strain of Covid-19 the woman had, but one of her close friends was sick.

“They are getting tested and two of her family members are sick and they are getting tested,” she said. “Despite the health directives that she should have been vaccinated, she was not. Let me say, I am absolutely furious about this.”

Palaszczuk said the government was left with no options given the circumstances of the new cases and needed to act quickly.

“We need to go hard and we need to go fast. This is absolutely essential and we want to make sure that we stop the virus in its tracks. This is really important that everyone does the right thing. I know Queenslanders will. These are tough decisions.”

From 6pm tonight, people in the lockdown areas can only leave their home for “essential” reasons.

They are: essential education and work that cannot be done at home; obtaining healthcare services, including vaccination; care or support of a vulnerable family member; essential shopping; or exercising with no more than one person not from the same household.

Queensland had already reintroduced restrictions from 1am on Tuesday – including mandatory masks outdoors for large parts of the state’s southeast – after three new cases were announced on Monday, one of those of the Delta variant.

That case, a fly-in, fly-out female mine worker, flew back to Queensland and was infectious in the community in Brisbane on Saturday before heading to the Sunshine Coast, where she tested positive on Sunday afternoon.

She was exposed to the virus at a Northern Territory gold mine after a male miner likely contracted Covid-19 while quarantining in proximity to international travellers at the Novotel Airport Brisbane.

The male worker then left the quarantine facility on a chartered flight to the mine.

Palaszczuk warned on Monday that with health authorities waiting on the test results for more than 150 workers exposed to that case, Queensland was “on the verge” of lockdown.

“This is a world pandemic and anything can happen at any time,” she told reporters.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the fact the Delta variant had made it into Queensland was concerning, because it had been demonstrated to spread within a matter of seconds.

“It is highly contagious and we must take this seriously,” she said.

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