Queensland and NSW on alert after traveller who left Melbourne lockdown tests positive for Covid

Queensland has recorded a local case of Covid-19 after a Melbourne couple left their home city during lockdown and travelled to the Sunshine Coast via New South Wales.

A 44-year-old woman from Melbourne tested positive on Wednesday morning in Queensland where she was visiting family.

The state’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said the woman may have been a recovered case and that further tests were needed.

“The CT [cycle threshold] values are quite high so she could well be right at the end of her illness,” Young said.

The woman and her husband left Melbourne on 1 June, during the state’s recent lockdown. The pair travelled through NSW and arrived in Queensland on 5 June.

The woman’s husband has so far tested negative and there are five other identified close contacts. Young said the pair were staying with family in Caloundra.

Young said it was too early to discuss whether Queensland would need to enter a lockdown. She said there was no evidence yet of local transmission in Queensland as the woman contracted the virus in Victoria.

A police spokesperson told reporters they were investigating how the couple entered Queensland and it was “too early” to say whether they had committed any breaches of health directions.

“We will investigate the circumstances of what has happened … all aspects of how that occurred, including what happened in other states,” he said. “It is too early to say. The purpose of our investigation is to establish the facts. That hasn’t happened so we won’t speculate.”

On Wednesday, both Queensland and NSW released a list of potential exposures sites related to the couple.

In Queensland, the sites included the McDonalds and BP Complex in Goondiwindi on Saturday 5 June; Sunnys at Moffat Beach and Coffee Cat at Kings Beach on Sunday 6 June; various locations at Stockland Caloundra Shopping Centre and Kawana Shoppingworld on Monday 7 June; and the female toilets near the Baringa White’s Supa IGA in Baringa on Tuesday 8 June.

In NSW, the sites included the Caltex Narrandera in Gillenbah and the Vandenberg Hotel in Forbes on Tuesday 1 June; the Brew Coffee Bar in Forbes, the Church Street Cafe and Reading Cinemas and Homestead Motel in Dubbo on Wednesday 2 June; and the Gwydir Carpark/Motel and Thermal Pools, Cafe Omega and the Amaroo Tavern in Moree, at various times from Thursday 3 June to Saturday 5 June.

More information on these sites and times can be found at Queensland Health and NSW Health.

Young said that it was possible the virus would not be able to be genome sequenced due to how long the woman had been infected.

“It was quite a late CT value on the test so we aren’t sure we will be able to sequence it,” she said.

A cycle threshold value refers to the number of cycles of amplification required for viral RNA to reach a detectable level. The lower the number of cycles needed, the higher the viral load.

But Young said it was possible the woman had been infectious during her travel through both NSW and Queensland. “She could well have been infectious while she was travelling through NSW,” she said.

Young called on residents of the Sunshine Coast to get vaccinated as soon as possible and she said the federal government had doubled the available vaccines for that region.

“Anyone who lives in the Sunshine Coast, this is the time to go forward and get vaccinated,” she said.

“GPs will have additional doses of vaccine so anyone who is 50 years of age or older should go to their GP or one of the commonwealth vaccine clinics and get vaccinated. Anyone under 50 should come forward to a Queensland Health vaccine site.”

Comments are closed.