A cleaner who tested positive to coronavirus after working in a quarantine hotel in Brisbane has been confirmed through genome sequencing as having the more contagious UK strain of the virus, Queensland Health says.The woman, aged in her 20s, is the first locally acquired case to be contracted from hotel quarantine in Queensland.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said she had enforced restrictions to vulnerable facilities in Greater Brisbane as a precaution while contact tracing efforts continued.
“We’re taking a very cautious approach with this case, now that we know for sure this person has the UK variant of the virus,” Dr Young said in a statement.
“Evidence shows that this variant is 70 per cent more infectious than other strains.
“This is why I’m taking this firm action swiftly, to protect our most vulnerable facilities.”
Dr Young said visitors would be restricted to aged care, hospitals, disability services and corrections facilities, with these restrictions imposed immediately.
“These restrictions apply to the Metro North, Metro South and West Moreton Hospital and Health Service regions,” Dr Young said.
The woman’s positive case has brought the state’s streak of 113 days without community transmission to an end
Earlier today, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the woman, who is from the southern Brisbane suburb of Algester, developed symptoms yesterday and was tested on the same day.
Health authorities said the woman was believed to have been in the community while infectious for five days and worked a shift as a casual cleaner at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane’s CBD on January 2.
It came after she received a negative result on December 29 as part of routine weekly testing.
There have been four other cases previously linked to the hotel, including one person who was diagnosed with the UK strain.
Queensland Health issued a health alert on Thursday for three southern Brisbane suburbs: Algester, Sunnybank Hills and Calamvale.
Any residents from those suburbs have been urged to get tested immediately.
The case has health authorities very concerned and has prompted an increase in testing of staff members in hotel quarantine to ensure they are tested for the virus every shift, rather than every week.
Queensland Health has also urged anyone who has visited the below locations to get tested immediately.