Greater Brisbane will enter a three day lockdown in a bid to contain a potentially crippling outbreak of a mutant strain of COVID-19.
Residents in Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay and Redlands council areas will only be able to leave their home for four reasons from 6pm on Friday until 6pm on Monday, and will have to wear a mask when they are outside their residence.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was taking the drastic measure to prevent further spread of the highly contagious strain.
It comes as the state recorded zero local virus cases and nine in hotel quarantine.
“We are doing this to make sure we are keeping Queenslanders safe,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“These are tough, strong measures but this strain is incredibly infectious … I am declaring Greater Brisbane a hotspot, and I am also asking my colleagues to declare us a hotspot until we get through this together.”
For the next three days, funerals will be limited to 20 people, weddings to 10, and authorities have urged people not to go to non-essential businesses, including gyms.
Greater Brisbane residents will be allowed to leave their homes for essential work, to shop for essentials, to provide essential care, and for exercise.
Restaurants and cafes can remain open for takeaway only.
It comes after a hotel quarantine worker, a cleaner in her 20s, contracted the highly contagious UK variant of COVID-19. It was the first confirmed case of the virus in the Queensland community in 113 days.
The woman worked at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, and was tested on the same day she became symptomatic.
The woman spent five days in the community while unknowingly infectious. An urgent contact tracing alert was issued for locations in Calamvale and Sunnybank Hills as well as two train routes.
More than 13,000 tests were carried out in Queensland in the last testing period.
The government has issued the following advice regarding movement in and out of Greater Brisbane
- Stay at home and in your neighbourhood
- People can choose to enter Brisbane during this period but are bound by the same restrictions for this period. Where possible people are encouraged to delay travel
- People can enter greater Brisbane to attain health care
- People should not leave Greater Brisbane during this period
- Non-residents currently in Greater Brisbane are encouraged to remain until the end of the restriction period.
Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said she was confident Queenslanders could respond to the threat of the mutant virus spreading.
“If we can get on top of this today, we’ll be able to manage it and we won’t need to go back into a longer lockdown period,” Dr Young said.
“We need to act fast … and find every single case now. We need to find any person who might have had contact with that case and get them into quarantine.
“That’s what we have to do over the next three days.”
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath warned authorities would struggle to get any outbreak under control.
“We see what’s happening in the UK … We could see catastrophic results,” she said.
“This is not hypothetical.”
Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said “high visibility policing” would be enforced over the weekend.
“We will intercept you if you are out and about and you will be checked,” he said.
He warned fines of up to $13,000 could be issued for non-compliance.
A special meeting of national cabinet will be convened on Friday to discuss mandatory testing of international arrivals before they board their flights to Australia.