Millions in Brisbane will learn today if enough has been done to control the outbreak of coronavirus and end the snap lockdown after three days as planned.
Authorities are hopeful they have contained the spread of the virus after only two new cases of community transmission were revealed on Wednesday.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will make the announcement this morning. Unless there are any new infections not linked to the two existing clusters, it’s expected the lockdown on Greater Brisbane will be lifted at 5pm.
“Fingers crossed all will be looking good for Easter,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“If we see very good testing rates across Queensland and we don’t see any unlinked community transmission, the signs for Easter are looking positive.”
There were 33,400 coronavirus tests in the 24 hours to Wednesday.
The two new cases were a nurse at the Princess Alexandra Hospital who had already received her first vaccination, and the other was a housemate.
Tests have established a direct link and confirmed the nurse was infected by the same patient who passed it onto the first infected nurse.
“It is exactly the same as the genome sequences for that second cluster related to the nurse and her friends,” Dr Jeannette Young said.
In another blow to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, which remains in lockdown, a “large number” of staff have been asked to self-isolate over fears of the spread of coronavirus.
Queensland Health emailed workers on Wednesday advising staff who had entered ward 5D for any length of time between 8pm on March 23 and midday on March 26 will be “requiring quarantine”, even if they had no “specific contact with individual patients”.
“I realise this will be extremely disruptive to clinical services and no doubt we need to cancel some clinical activities,” the email said.
Virus spreads below the border
NSW Health declared all retail and takeaway shops in most of downtown Byron Bay were an exposure site on Saturday afternoon.
Speaking to Today on Wednesday, Byron Shire Council Mayor Simon Richardson said it had been a “worrying” few days as the region anxiously waited to see if cases would emerge.
“After all we’ve gone through to get to the Easter holidays and now to have this uncertainty hanging over our head – it’s a really worrying couple of days,” he said.
The new case prompted the cancelling of the popular Bluesfest music festival this weekend.
The shires of Byron, Ballina, Tweed and Lismore will be on “extra high alert” and will be subject to restrictions until the end of Easter.