Queensland will close its border to South Australia from Thursday amid fears a new coronavirus cluster may have been seeded by a woman who returned from Melbourne.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young is anxiously awaiting test results from relatives and friends of the woman, who picked up the highly contagious Delta variant at a Melbourne pub.
She returned to Queensland on July 13 and stayed with friends on the Sunshine Coast but two days later was told by Victorian officials that she'd been at a tier-one exposure site - the Young and Jackson Hotel in Melbourne.
Dr Young said she presented for testing but returned a negative result, and was active in the community on the Sunshine Coast, and to a lesser degree in far north Queensland, while infectious.
She returned a positive result late on Monday night, after flying north to Cairns and then travelling by private vehicle to her family's home at Mareeba.
Dr Young is hopeful that the woman, aged in her 20s, may not have passed the variant on because she was fully vaccinated.
She also wore a mask while out and about on the Sunshine Coast, on public transport on the way to Brisbane airport, and on a Virgin flight VA791 from Brisbane to Cairns on July 16.
Dr Young says test results from the woman's friends at Maroochydore and family at Mareeba will be a good indicator of whether Queensland is in trouble or not.
She's also worried about fellow diners at the popular Rice Boi restaurant at The Wharf, at Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast, between 6.45pm and 8pm on Thursday, July 15, and shoppers at the Sunshine Coast Plaza shopping centre that day, between 3.55pm and 4.15pm.
Meanwhile, Dr Young has announced all of South Australia will be declared a hotspot from 1am Thursday, after the southern state ordered a seven-day lockdown with five cases there.
From that time, anyone who has been to South Australia won't be allowed to enter Queensland unless they are a returning Queensland resident, or have essential purpose exemptions, and all arrivals will have to quarantine for 14 days.
Health Minister Yvette D'Ath linked the woman's infection back to the expanding outbreak in NSW.
"We now have transmission from that NSW cluster in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland," she said.
Ms D'Ath urged people not to leave the state and said Queenslanders who are currently elsewhere should get home quickly, in case the situation deteriorates further.
"We now have a 10-fold increase in cases across Australia in five weeks. We are now at 1360 cases across Australia, where only five weeks ago we were down to 127."
Two new overseas acquired cases were also detected in hotel quarantine.
Australian Associated Press