Skip links and keyboard navigation

Queensland COVID-19 update - new wastewater detections in South East Queensland

31 December 2020

Traces of COVID-19 have been detected in sewerage at two more sites in south-east Queensland.

Routine testing returned positive results for viral fragments in wastewater at treatment plants at Bundamba in West Moreton and Merrimac on the Gold Coast.

The samples were collected at Bundamba on 28 December and Merrimac on 24 December.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said continued positive sewage results were particularly concerning given the New South Wales cluster and new cases in Victoria.

“Both of these treatment plants collect wastewater from large urban populations,” she said.

“These positive test results are concerning as they may indicate either a recovered case or undetected active cases living in or visiting the area.”

“It is very important that anyone in the Bundamba and Merrimac catchments who has COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, comes forward for testing. If there are active cases in the area, it is important that we detect them early to prevent further transmission.” With the New South Wales cluster growing and new cases in Victoria, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Wastewater tests last week also revealed positive results at seven wastewater sites across Queensland - Victoria Point, Oxley Creek, Goodna, Fairfield, Cairns North, Redcliffe and Nambour.

“It’s not just residents we want to reach, but holiday-makers as well,” Dr Young said.

Three new cases were reported in Queensland today. All were infected overseas, and have returned from South Africa, India and Pakistan and are being transferred to hospital. Genome sequencing is underway to determine the viral lineages.

The cases take Queensland’s COVID-19 total to 1,253, of which 14 are active.

A traveller who returned recently from Ghana has also tested positive to the UK variant of COVID-19 in Queensland.

The man, aged in his 30s, has been transferred from hotel quarantine to hospital.

Dr Young said genome sequencing revealed the man was infected with the UK variant, which is reported to be more contagious than the most commonly diagnosed variant.

“This detection highlights the importance of our hotel quarantine policy, especially for overseas travellers,” she said.

“Cases are rising at a rapid rate internationally and new variants like this one would be difficult to contain in the community. Our best approach is ensuring potential cases are detected where they pose no risk to other Queenslanders.”

The diagnosis comes after a Sunshine Coast woman tested positive to the South African variant earlier this week.

Dr Young said she was closely monitoring the New South Wales cluster and the new Victorian cases.

“I’m urging Queenslanders travelling to these states to reassess their plans – if it is not necessary, then consider staying here,” she said.

“The next 24 hours are critical for Victoria and the NSW cluster is growing daily. Queensland is in a good position right now because we acted quickly to declare greater Sydney a hotspot.

“We’ve worked hard to keep COVID-19 out of the Queensland community and we do not want that to come undone because of complacency.”

To access a full list of COVID-19 testing locations, with interactive map and post code search, visit:


Last updated: 31 December 2020