Health experts have condemned the actions of Brisbane residents who fled the locked down city and since sparked fears the Sunshine Coast could also become a hotspot.

There was a mass exodus on the Bruce Highway on Friday as residents attempted to escape greater Brisbane before the 6pm curfew was put in place by Queensland Health.

Brisbane's three-day lockdown came after a hotel cleaner was found to be carrying the highly contagious UK strain of the virus.

Sunshine Coast police have sent up checkpoints on the Bruce Highway to prevent Brisbane residents coming to the region, however, local medical experts are concerned it may be too late.

How police will stop escapees from reaching Coast

Contact tracing underway after woman's positive test

World Health Organisation expert Dr Ian Norton said he was worried regarding the volume of people who fled Brisbane on Friday.

"That's absolutely what happened, and I am worried about it," Dr Norton said.

"If those people who escaped Brisbane have it and don't isolate, it could cause a lot of problems.

"People need to bunker down and not come out.

"They need to do the right thing and isolate or we will end up as a hotspot."

 

Sunshine Coast police officer Senior Sergeant Scott Wiggins at the Bruce Highway checkpoint to prevent Brisbane residents from reaching the region.
Sunshine Coast police officer Senior Sergeant Scott Wiggins at the Bruce Highway checkpoint to prevent Brisbane residents from reaching the region.

 

Dr Norton said he believed the "short" three-day lockdown would grant Queensland Health the time to complete contact tracing of the cleaner's movements and prevent a major outbreak from reaching the Coast and beyond.

"It's a big job, and I am sure the department is all over it," he said.

"They need to make sure no one got out of the second ring of contacts.

"You normally come into contact with about 50 people, and I understand she has been in contact with 70 people.

"I am usually not in favour of widespread lockdowns but I understand this one, they need to get control of it."

Testing clinics open this weekend across the Coast

Sunshine Coast AMA president Dr Roger Faint said the region was on high alert after the Brisbane lockdown and the reaction that followed.

"Obviously, it is silly," Dr Faint said of the mass exodus.

"If they've been in contact, they're more likely to bring it with them.

"Queensland Health are certainly on high alert, opening more testing stations just in case.

"Plenty of people are seeing the need to get tested though, which is good. Lines are pretty steady at Buderim."

Sunshine Coast District Superintendent Craig Hawkins told the Daily on Saturday morning that the checkpoint measures were necessary to prevent the region going into its own lockdown.

"There's no suggestion at this stage that we will move into a lockdown," he said.

"But it requires everyone being responsible and not having people needlessly coming here from hot spots.

"We don't want it (the virus) on the Coast. We are putting in a lot of work to try and hold it out.

"You don't want to be the one responsible for bringing it here."



Emergency declared after 25 motorcyclists die

Premium Content Emergency declared after 25 motorcyclists die

Police and the government have taken the ‘extraordinary step’ of warning 220,000...

Why Gympie Show must go on despite ‘nightmare’ preparation

Premium Content Why Gympie Show must go on despite ‘nightmare’ preparation

“I’m sure that governments do not realise the onus they put on groups such as...

One in hospital after single-vehicle rollover on Coast

Premium Content One in hospital after single-vehicle rollover on Coast

A man was assessed by paramedics after the vehicle he was in rolled at Diddillibah.