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South-east Queensland extends lockdown

Queensland reported 13 new community cases of COVID-19 today, triggering a longer lockdown in the state’s south-east which will now run until Sunday as fear over spread of Delta grows.

The new cases are all linked to a known outbreak which now numbers 31, Deputy Premier Steven Miles said, and includes seven students from Ironside State School in Brisbane who tested positive overnight.

One of the new cases had attended a karate school which trains at Ironside State School, potentially opening up further spread.

Indooroopilly State High School, in Brisbane’s west, is closed after a positive COVID-19 case was linked to the community. (Supplied)

Queensland health officials are braced for “a lot of additional cases” with one of the positive cases being out infectious in the community for six days before being tested and going into isolation.

The Delta strain is known to be far more transmissible among young people than earlier variants, and rising cases detected in school students is greatly troubling health officials.

Mr Miles said the initial lockdown had been “insufficient” for the growing Delta outbreak. The snap three-day lockdown – which has forced the cancellation of the Royal Queensland Show Ekka – had been scheduled to end tomorrow, but will now last eight days, until 4pm on August 8.

Eleven LGAs are affected, including City of Brisbane, Moreton Bay Regional Council, City of Gold Coast, City of Ipswich, Lockyer Valley Regional Council, Logan City, Noosa Shire Council, Redland City, Scenic Rim Regional Council, Somerset Regional Council and Sunshine Coast Regional Council.

Home learning will be in place from Tuesday for the entire week for the impacted LGAs state schools, Mr Miles said.

Private schools will also have similar arrangements.

Mr Miles said there was too much movement in the 11 LGAs.

“There’s too many cars on the road in Brisbane at the moment,” he said.

“Too many people out and about.”

More than 21,800 Queenslanders were tested yesterday – an increase of more than 10,000 on the previous day.

‘Missing link’ after two June 29 flights

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said her team still had no idea how the Delta virus had moved from two returned travellers on June 29 into the state’s south-east, and a cluster now totalling 31.

“I don’t know where the missing link is,” Dr Young said.

“All I know is that we had two people arrive from overseas into the Brisbane International Airport on June 29, and … now this outbreak, 29 additional people later, are all clustering with those two.”

Dr Young said the outbreak was “escalating”.

Four of today’s new cases are from one family, she said

“Don’t leave home. We know that the Delta virus, the variant of the virus, is totally unforgiving. It really and truly spreads so rapidly.”

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said people should work from home if they can.

Commercial construction and critical residential work is allowed to continue.

$260m boost for Queensland businesses

In response to the longer lockdown, Treasurer Cameron Dick said a $260 million package had been launched to support struggling Queensland businesses, particularly small and medium sized enterprises.

Grants of $5000 grants are available to all Queensland businesses – not just those in the locked down area.

“That recognises the impact that the Delta variant has had on those businesses,” Mr Dick said, “because … it stopped tourists coming from other parts of the country who are also in lockdown.”

A long line of cars streams towards the COVID-19 testing centre in Toowong Drive, Brisbane.
A long line of cars streams towards the COVID-19 testing centre in Toowong Drive, Brisbane. (9News)
Yesterday, Queensland reported nine new cases of community transmission, bringing the total to 18.
Yesterday, Queensland reported nine new cases of community transmission, bringing the total to 18. (9News)

‘Magnificent opportunity’

Former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth said the situation offered a “magnificent opportunity” to ramp up vaccination efforts.

“There will be that anxiety (from Queenslanders) watching what’s happened in Sydney,” he told Today.

“But … there is national agreement that short, sharp lockdowns are necessary whilst our vaccination rates are increasing.

“This is the best chance that Queenslanders have to get the virus under control.”

He urged Queenslanders to “get out there” and have a Pfizer or AstraZeneca jab as soon as possible.

Dr Coatsworth said he had “every confidence” Australia could hit a 70 per cent fully vaccinated rate by the end of the year.

Massive testing queues

9News reporter Reece D’Alessandro said queues at the Toowong Drive testing centre in Brisbane were “massive” this morning.

At 8am (AEST) there were at least 80 vehicles in line. Making matters worse, a car had broken down at the front of the queue.

D’Alessandro said some people in the line today had tried unsuccessfully to get a test yesterday.

“They are back here this morning and they are getting frustrated.”

There are fears Queensland's lockdown will extend as testing numbers in the state hit alarming lows.
There are fears Queensland’s lockdown will extend as testing numbers in the state hit alarming lows. (9News)

‘A really irresponsible thing to do’

Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski has warned anti-lockdown protesters to they will be caught if they attend possible planned rallies across Brisbane today.

Police are cracking down on those breaking the rules with people being told to stay at home amid a rising number of cases.

“We had intelligence people are considering protests,” Mr Gollschewski told Today.

“Can I just say – we have said this consistently – now is not the time. This is a really irresponsible thing to do.

“Protesters should put the safety interests of their community ahead of their own views for now.

“They should expect police to be there if they do go ahead.”

He confirmed 57 infringement notices had been issued since the lockdown began, 29 for being outside of their homes without a valid reason.

Another 11 were issued for illegal gatherings while six people have been arrested.

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