Coronavirus Australia: Queensland records one new local COVID-19 case

AAP and staff writersThe West Australian
Queensland Premier Annastacia said it is unclear how he was able to get into Queensland from Melbourne without quarantining.
Camera IconQueensland Premier Annastacia said it is unclear how he was able to get into Queensland from Melbourne without quarantining. Credit: Dan Peled/Getty Images

A Gold Coast man who has had COVID-19 and been infectious in the community for 10 days is so sick he cannot communicate with authorities trying to trace his movements.

The man is his 30s, who is unvaccinated, tested positive after presenting to the Robina Hospital emergency department on Wednesday night.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the Broadbeach man had been infectious in the community for 10 days and arrived from Melbourne on October 10.

Authorities are struggling to work out where the man has been because his illness is limiting communication, and because he had not checked-in using a QR code since September 18.

“He is so sick, this is a man in his 30s, he is so sick that we’re having difficulties talking to him and getting information from him,” Dr Young said.

“We don’t have venues at this stage because as I said he is so sick that he’s having difficulty communicating with us, and difficulty remembering.

“So this is very difficult for him, but it’s also very difficult for the Gold Coast community because I can’t give you those areas (where he’s been).”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who said she understands the man is receiving oxygen, said it is also unclear how he was able to get into Queensland from Melbourne without quarantining. Police are investigating.

She said there was no plan for a localised lockdown, but the case was a “wake up call” to the 156,000 eligible Gold Coasters who are not yet vaccinated.

“We need people to be vaccinated. If you are unvaccinated you are more than likely, ending up very, very sick from COVID or in hospital, or an ICU,” the premier said.

Dr Young urged people on the Gold Coast to keep wearing masks and to get tested so authorities can determine whether any transmission has occurred.

“And please don’t wait like this poor gentleman has, that he’s so breathless he can hardly talk to us. Come forward straight away (for) any symptoms, so that we can get you tested,” she said.

The man is a driver partner with Uber, but the company confirmed he has not driven with the platform since September 19.

“We work with public health authorities in each state, and have processes in place to temporarily remove an individual’s access to the Uber app if authorities report an infection,” an Uber official told AAP in a statement.

The case emerged after 7616 tests in the previous 24 hours, and is the first locally acquired case to be infectious in the community in Queensland for 16 days.

The case comes as the government prepares to set up vaccine clinics at 100 state schools this weekend before it eases restrictions on interstate travel in November and December.

Every Queenslander over 12 is eligible to be vaccinated.

The government will open up the state in three stages. The first stage begins on November 19, when 70 per cent of Queenslanders over 16 will have been double- dosed, allowing fully vaccinated people to do home quarantine.

On December 17, or earlier if Queensland hits 80 per cent before then, fully vaccinated domestic travellers can come into the state without having to quarantine although they must return a negative PCR test before arrival.

At 90 per cent, the state will scrap quarantine for all fully vaccinated overseas arrivals.

ACT RECORDS 28 NEW CASES, 21 HOSPITALISED

The ACT has recorded 28 new cases of COVID-19, with 21 people in hospital.

There are 10 people in intensive care, eight of whom require ventilation.

Lockdown restrictions in Canberra are due to ease from 11.59pm on Thursday as vaccination rates continue to rise in the national capital.

More than 83 per cent of the ACT’s eligible population are now fully vaccinated.

All retail will be allowed to open with density limits of one person per four square metres.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith is due to face an ACT assembly inquiry on Thursday, just a day after she announced a vaccine mandate for disability support workers and community-based aged care workers.

Under the mandate, staff in these sectors will need to have a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by November 1 and be fully vaccinated by November 29.

It follows similar developments in NSW, Victoria and the Northern Territory.

The mandate also allows eligible disability providers in the ACT to claim $100 per worker per jab through the National Disability Insurance Agency.

The payment can be claimed retrospectively and is in place to help cover additional costs disability support providers incur in enabling their staff to get vaccinated.

Almost nine in 10 screened disability workers under the NDIS in the ACT have had one dose, and more than eight in 10 were fully vaccinated as of October 18.

VICTORIA RECORDS 2232 NEW LOCAL CASES, 12 DEATHS

Victoria has recorded 2232 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths on the last day of Melbourne’s long-running sixth lockdown.

The health department confirmed the state’s daily local case figure had risen back above 2000 for the first time in five days.

Three overseas-acquired cases were also detected in hotel quarantine.

It takes the number of active cases in Victoria to 22,889, while the latest deaths from the current outbreak take the toll to 187.

There were 79,544 tests processed and 37,824 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered at state-run hubs on Wednesday.

Victoria has also officially passed its 70 per cent full COVID-19 vaccination target, a key reopening milestone in the state’s roadmap.

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed 70.51 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 have now received both doses.

The state government had already announced Melbourne would emerge from lockdown at 11.59pm on Thursday, five days earlier than planned.

“The longest road has been journeyed in Victoria and that long road really starts to open up tonight,” Mr Morrison told the Seven Network.

When stay-at-home orders lift, Melburnians will have endured 77 full days in their current lockdown and 263 total days since the beginning of the pandemic - a record for any city across the globe.

Under the new rules, people will be able to leave their homes for any reason and travel anywhere within metropolitan Melbourne.

The curfew will be scrapped, home gatherings of up to 10 will be allowed, and hairdressers and hospitality businesses will reopen for the fully vaccinated.

However, in a last-minute change to reopening plans, all hospitality staff must be fully vaccinated to work.

This is despite online health directions stating authorised workers, including those in hospitality, must have had one vaccine dose by October 22 and a second by November 26.

NSW HAS 372 NEW COVID-19 CASES, ONE DEATH

There has been a significant jump of new local cases of COVID-19 in NSW with 372 new cases reported and one death.

After three consecutive days of fewer than 300 cases, the figure recorded in the 24-hours to 8pm on Wednesday jumped by 89.

There are 523 patients in hospital, 124 of whom are in intensive care.

About 92.5 per cent of people aged 16 and over have had one vaccine dose and 82.3 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, treasurer Matt Kean is preparing to unveil more support for businesses ravaged by the lockdown with an economic recovery plan.

The government on Wednesday announced a $530 million financial aid plan for the tourism and events sector, after earlier this week outlining a mental health care package.

Included in the funding is a voucher scheme aimed at boosting domestic tourism, which will see every adult receive a $50 voucher to spend on a hotel in the state.

Called Stay and Rediscover, the scheme builds on the success of the recently expanded Dine and Discover program and is part of a broader package designed to help the state’s tourism industry after months of lockdown.

The package also included a $60 million aviation attraction fund, $150 million to restart major events across the state, a $25 million support fund for music festivals, $50 million to revitalise the Sydney CBD, and funding for business events, cancelled events, and recovery marketing.

But Premier Dominic Perrottet teased in parliament that more announcements would come on Thursday.

“The treasurer will be releasing the economic recovery plan tomorrow, which will support businesses to help recover every single one of the 230,000 jobs that have been lost during this most recent outbreak,” he said.

“We are confident that we will do that because it’s exactly what we did last year... by putting people and families and businesses before the budget.

In fact, Mr Perrottet said the state is already “bouncing back better” which is the name of the plan.

“Data from Freedom Day reveals a tenfold increase in spending across previously shuttered retail and hospitality sectors,” he said.

Some $12.8 million was spent in the state’s restaurants, pubs and bars, up from $1 million the previous Monday, and retail spending lifted from $35 million to $100 million, and a further $4 million was spent on accommodation.

“Haircuts are going through the roof - $5 million was splurged on state hairdressers and barbers in one week,” added Mr Perrottet, whose first port of call after lockdown lifted was a barber.

STATE-BY-STATE CASE BREAKDOWN

NSW - 372 new local cases and one death

VIC - 2232 new local cases and 12 deaths

ACT - TBA

QLD - TBA

WA - TBA

SA - TBA

TAS - TBA

NT - TBA

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