Travellers who have stayed at the Hotel Grand Chancellor are being urged to get tested for coronavirus after genomic testing confirmed spread within the hotel.
Queensland has recorded six new cases in hotel quarantine, but none from the locked down hotel. There has been no local transmission.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state has 38 active cases and completed 4376 tests yesterday.
Deputy Chief Health Officer Sonya Bennett said investigations are continuing to establish the extent of the Grand Chancellor Hotel infections.
“We acted yesterday again as we put the hotel into lockdown because we were concerned that there could be a possibility (of transmission) and stopped accepting any return travellers and also extended the quarantine period for anybody who may have been departing,” Dr Bennett said.
“From today clearly there is a lot we don’t yet know and there will be work going on first to manage the public health risks.”
Dr Bennett said health authorities are now investigating the potential for infection, particularly in health workers, if they have received a vaccination.
“Clearly there is a lot we don’t yet know and there will be work going on to manage the public health risks,” Dr Bennett said.
She said investigations would continue into the extent of transmission among returned travellers at the Grand Chancellor Hotel.
“There is also a lot of work to understand what the event may have been,” she said.
“We’ve seen this before, we know that some people are highly infectious and this is likely the case in this instance and can transmit the virus through very little exposure.”
As of yesterday, there had been 1,819 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 21 deaths in PNG, according to the World Health Organisation.
“We have been assisting with some tests in Papua New Guinea and out of the 500 tests that our health authorities have done for Papua New Guinea, 250 positive,” she said.
“This is a real concern.”
Ms Palaszczuk said she will be holding talks with Prime Minister Scott Morrison later today and suggested the Federal Government should step up its assistance.
“Papua New Guinea is on the doorstep of Queensland and I hope that I will be able to speak to the Prime Minister or Prime Minister’s office in the next 24 hours.”
“It’s a serious situation up there, so I think we need to look at what our coordinated response is … maybe we need to look at a vaccine rollout program there as well.”
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’ath has confirmed that two of the six new coronavirus cases detected in quarantine originated in Papua New Guinea.
She said the two positive cases arrived in Queensland on charter flights from PNG.
Ms D’ath said she is in talks with the Federal Government about the future of the flights.
“I will be reaching out to (Federal Health Minister) Greg Hunt. One, to verify that the charter flights are still going to be suspended and what the timeframe for that is.”
Ms Palaszczuk has repeated calls for the Federal Government to offer further financial aid to the tourism industry when the JobKeeper wage subsidy ends later this month.
But Ms Palaszczuk said the Commonwealth was failing to listen to hard-hit tourism operators in Queensland.
The premier previously warned Cairns in particular, one of several Queensland regions targeted in the new package, had 10,000 businesses on JobKeeper “concerned they are going to fall off a cliff” at the end of March.