Queensland Health statement - COVID-19 update
Queensland has seven new cases of COVID-19 to report today, bringing the state’s total to 1,342.
All cases were detected in hotel quarantine.
Today’s new cases include two people linked to Qatar Airways flight QR898 from Doha to Brisbane on 17 February 2021.
Both are close contacts of a previously reported case linked to this flight, sharing the same room during quarantine. Genomic testing is currently underway for both these cases.
All three Queensland cases reported yesterday have been confirmed with the B1.1.317 variant.
Queensland Health is also liaising with New Zealand health authorities regarding the genomic testing of their positive case that was also on flight QR898.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the source of infection for these cases was currently under investigation and Queensland Health was taking a cautious approach.
“All of these positive cases were on flight QR898 and two of them were serving their quarantine period in adjacent rooms on the same floor of the Mercure Brisbane Hotel at North Quay,” Dr Young said.
“We are being very cautious and thorough and are investigating all potential possibilities for infection.
“What we do know is that one of the cases confirmed with this variant was infectious on the plane, and we believe that individual was more infectious than most cases.
“Another of the cases was not seated near this person on the plane but was in the hotel room next to them at the Mercure Brisbane Hotel, so that’s why we are looking into if any transmission occurred within the hotel quarantine system.
“At this time, we don’t believe there is a risk to the community.
“Hotel workers are regularly tested, as are guests.
“However, as a precaution, our Public Health Units are advising those people who served a quarantine period on Floor 8 of the Mercure Brisbane Hotel at North Quay between 18 and 21 February and who has since left quarantine to immediately get tested. They should isolate for 14 days since they left the hotel or until Sunday, 7 March, whichever is sooner.
“Anyone who is currently quarantining at the Mercure Brisbane Hotel at North Quay and was in a room on Floor 8 between 18 to 21 February will need to have their quarantine extended until 12.01am on 8 March 2021.
“As advised yesterday, all travellers from flight QR898 are also required to quarantine until 12.01am, 8 March 2021 in their respective hotels.
“We’ve always said our quarantine policy is designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect Queenslanders, and this is why we’re implementing these additional measures.
“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve had to be agile in our approach and this has meant enhancing and adapting our quarantine requirements as necessary.
“With multiple cases linked to flight QR898 and Floor 8 of the Mercure Brisbane Hotel, we need to ensure we protect the community.
“I know this will cause an inconvenience to many people, but it’s necessary to protect Queenslanders,” she said.
The additional five cases reported today were detected in hotel quarantine and had recently arrived from Papua New Guinea.
These five cases are currently receiving treatment in hospitals in Brisbane and Cairns.