Queensland has registered a new local COVID-19 case that has been contagious to the community in Brisbane for six days and 19 new infections have been reported on a ship offshore.
The man completed hotel quarantine in Brisbane on July 17 and then stayed at a backpacker hotel in the CBD before becoming unwell and tested on Monday.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young says the man has likely been contagious in the community since last Thursday.
“Now we want to get in touch with tracking down the people at the backpackers hotel and other people that this gentleman has been in contact with,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
“Now this is our 13th intrusion of the virus into the community of Queensland over the last six weeks, so it’s becoming more and more worrying that we’re getting these repeated intrusions of the virus into Queensland.”
Dr Young said the hotel quarantine system was clearly insufficient to include the Delta variant of COVID-19.
She had also asked that all politicians in the state be given priority for vaccination because of the risk of them bringing the virus from Brisbane to the regions.
“I think this is escalating now that we’ve had 13 outbreaks of the virus in the community, in the Queensland community over the last six weeks,” she said.
“It’s more than we’ve seen before for a long time, so I’m very worried.
“And most of these have been the Delta variant, so I just want to manage every single risk that I can think of as much as possible.”
Authorities have also registered a further 19 COVID-19 cases on a ship off the state coast after 17,816 tests overnight.
Dr. Young said the ship is due to arrive in Weipa on Wednesday and the sick crew members will be transferred to hospitals on land for treatment.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said Queensland will ease quarantine requirements for residents and people with travel exemptions in Victoria and South Australia after both of those states lifted overnight virus freezes.
She said travelers are allowed to quarantine at home rather than at hotels from 6 p.m. 1 on Friday.
“If someone turns out to be in breach of quarantine in the home, they may not only be fined, but they may also be required to go into hotel quarantine,” Ms D’Ath said.