No sign of community transmission linked to COVID-infected Brisbane doctor so far as more than half of close contacts test negative



Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says there is no sign of community transmission linked to a COVID-infected Brisbane doctor so far, as more than half of her close contacts have returned negative test results.

It comes as the lockdown in hospitals, prisons, aged care and disability centres in the Greater Brisbane region have been extended for another 72 hours.

Speaking at the Gold Coast University Hospital, Ms Palaszczuk said the extension was a precautionary measure.

“Be patient for another 72 hours, just while we finalise all of this data and get the test results in,” she said.

Health authorities have been urgently testing hundreds of close contacts linked to the doctor who tested positive for the UK strain of coronavirus last week after working at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.

Authorities have also been investigating whether a returned traveller infected another guest while in hotel quarantine at Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor.

Ms Palaszczuk said 400 contacts of the doctor had been tested so far and 58 per cent of those tests have returned negative results.

The hotel was sent into a 72-hour lockdown on Sunday, with guests unable to leave or enter the building.

Queensland recorded no locally acquired cases and conducted 7,000 tests in the past 24 hours.

Signage on top of Brisbane's Hotel Grand Chancellor.
Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor is in lockdown until midday on Tuesday.(ABC News: Nik Coleman)

Quarantine extended for Hotel Grand Chancellor guests

Queensland’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Sonya Bennett said authorities were still working through the information from the Hotel Grand Chancellor.

She said all staff who worked during the risk period between March 5 to 9 were tested on Monday.

All hotel guests who left from March 1 had also been asked to isolate and get tested

Dr Bennett said hotel quarantine guests who stayed on level one of the hotel during the risk period would need to have their quarantine extended for 14 days from March 9.

For all other guests who stayed on different floors, she said a decision would be made tomorrow as to whether their quarantine would be extended as a precaution.

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Vaccine roll out ‘on track’

Ms Palaszczuk said she spoke to Prime Minister Scott Morrison last night regarding a spike in infections in Papua New Guinea and would be talking to him again on Tuesday.

“I’m not going to go into any further details until I get an update later on tonight, but I can say that the state and the federal government are treating the issues of infections in Papua New Guinea very seriously,” she said.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the entire 1A vaccine cohort were on track to have received a COVID-19 vaccination within two weeks.

She said as of Tuesday morning, 6,000 of the 10,000 staff at the Gold Coast University Hospital had been vaccinated.

“No one in 1A is missing out or having their booking cancelled to give it to someone else — they are arriving, they’re getting vaccinated,” Ms D’Ath said.

The Health Minister said additional vaccination “left over” from the dose were not being wasted but would be used to vaccinate other hospital staff that were available at the time.

“It’s changing daily as to how much Pfizer and AstraZeneca we have, so we are having to adapt so quickly and that is why we’ve stood up an extra 14 sites, this week,” she said.

“We are working to the Commonwealth target of having every Queenslander that is eligible vaccinated with a first vaccine by the end of October and that’s the target we’re working towards, if we get the supply.”

Dr Bennett said reports of blood clotting from those receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine in Norway did not appear to be any higher than what would normally be expected in the community.

“It’s also important to note that the UK has probably distributed far more of the AstraZeneca vaccine than anyone and hasn’t seen that particular signal so every country is monitoring for safety and adverse events,” she said.

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