High alert: Cluster fears sweep city on edge

 

 

SOUTH-EAST Queensland communities are in limbo with concerning new cases of COVID-19 putting residents on high alert and causing a ripple effect that could further devastate already struggling businesses.

In extraordinary scenes not yet witnessed in Queensland during the pandemic, worried families queued at testing sites in Brisbane's southside after at least three new cases were confirmed on Wednesday.

They were the first recorded in the state outside quarantine since May, sending shivers up the spines of Queenslanders who have watched a second wave of the virus devastate Victoria.

The shock new cases came just weeks after restrictions eased following months of lockdown, leading to calls for the State Government to reveal its plan for a potential second wave so business owners can make contingency plans.

The Szanto children Olivia, 7, Theodora and Alana waiting to get tested at Parklands Christian College. Picture: Tara Croser
The Szanto children Olivia, 7, Theodora and Alana waiting to get tested at Parklands Christian College. Picture: Tara Croser

One of the new cases visited a raft of businesses from Browns Plains to Southbank over several days including popular eateries, prompting urgent calls from health authorities for everyone to check if they had also been there during the identified times.

Anyone who has visited the venues have been urged to immediately self-quarantine and contact 13 HEALTH.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said contact tracing was underway on the three new cases.

"While we are still determining where the virus may have been acquired, we are working closely with these women to gather necessary information, including other places they may have visited while infectious," she said.

"As always, we strongly recommend everyone with symptoms, particularly people who have travelled interstate recently, to immediately get tested."

Dr Young said vigilance was key to keeping community transmission out of Queensland.

"Therefore, if you live in the areas of Logan, South Brisbane or Springfield and are feeling unwell please stay home and immediately get tested," she said.

Cowch South Bank, which is claimed to have had one of the positive cases visit on 27 July, has closed on Wednesday for deep cleaning and sterilisation.

"QLD Health have told us they will be back in touch with us with any relevant information," a Cowch spokeswoman said.

"However just as an abundance of caution, Cowch is now arranging for testing for all staff who were present on site through the three days from the 27th to today.

"They're having a complete deep clean sterilisation tonight."

P'Nut Street Noodles in South Bank, which is also claimed to have had a positive case on Monday, said health checks were being undertaken for all staff.

In a statement on its Facebook page, Peak Thai at Orion shopping centre said the staff working on Sunday have been told to go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days.

"Please note government contact tracing has informed management that a couple who recently tested positive from COVID-19 has listed Peak Thai as one of the location they had visited," the statement read.

"As a precaution and protection to our valued customers we have taken the initiative to close down the restaurant for today to do major deep cleaning.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland general manager of advocacy and policy

Amanda Rohan said the body understood decisions had to be made based on current and unfolding circumstances.
But she called for a plan should an outbreak occur.

Peak Thai at Springfield Central has said staff have been told to go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days. Picture: Annette Dew
Peak Thai at Springfield Central has said staff have been told to go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days. Picture: Annette Dew

"Our priority is to keep Queensland moving, as businesses don't have the viability to keep operating should widespread, immediate shutdowns occur," she said.

"Businesses have their COVIDsafe plans and practices in place and are doing an excellent job at implementing them.

"But we have been asking the Premier 'what is the plan' should a COVID outbreak occur, so contingency plans for those scenarios can be made."

Parents, grandparents and carers were 'angry and disappointed' after being forced to queue for a coronavirus testing clinic set up at Parklands Christian College.

Justin and Carol Robinson brought two of their three children to the testing clinic set up at the school's sporting complex on Wednesday afternoon. Mr Robinson is a fly-in-fly-out worker and his wife works in aged care.

"I'm concerned because we do care for the elderly and I don't want to bring anything to work," Mrs Robinson said.

"We're doing an amazing job to protect our old people.

"It's disappointing that someone would do something like this … I keep myself at home to protect others but it's disappointing others aren't doing the right thing."

Cleaning gets underway at Parklands Christian College where one of the woman who tested positive worked. Picture: Tara Croser
Cleaning gets underway at Parklands Christian College where one of the woman who tested positive worked. Picture: Tara Croser

Another family said three adult family members had been forced to take the day off work so they could get themselves and their grandchildren and children tested.

"We feel anger and frustration, we've had that many warnings and we know what we need to do," one woman said.

The owner of Madtongsan IV Korean restaurant at Market Square Sunnybank, who asked not to be named, said news on of the positive cases had dined there was the third coronavirus blow to his business.

In addition to the full lockdown of March to May, he said rumours which swirled around in January that Market Square was already becoming a virus hot spot hurt customer numbers. 

 

 

Originally published as High alert: Cluster fears sweep city on edge



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