Queensland authorities are increasingly optimistic they have the upper hand on two COVID-19 variants after reporting a few new locally acquired cases on Sunday.
All parts of Queensland are now out of lockdown after cases of the highly contagious Delta strain, and the Alpha strain was detected in the southeast.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has told Queenslanders they are not entirely out of the woods, but Sunday’s figures are excellent news.
“It appears everything is under control at this point in time, so we are very, very relieved about that,” Ms. Palaszczuk said as she reminded people in areas that were locked down to keep wearing masks.
Authorities initially reported just two new cases on Sunday involving the Alpha strain linked to a cluster associated with a Greek community center and a Portuguese restaurant. The other was acquired overseas and detected in hotel quarantine.
From Friday, it will be mandatory for everyone to use the Queensland Check In app when they visit businesses, including restaurants and bars, cafes, shopping centers, salons, gyms, stadiums, theme parks, and universities.
Heath Minister Yvette D’Ath said owners must enforce the requirement.
“Get that QR code up outside your business and also make sure that someone is checking that people have actually checked in before they walk around your supermarket, restaurant, cafe, business,” she said on Sunday.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young also revealed a previously reported case involving a worker at Brisbane’s domestic airport was a false positive.
“We have gone and done repeat testing, multiple repeat testing on different platforms, and it has confirmed that that was a false positive,” she said.
With the case added late on Sunday, Queensland currently has 47 active points.
Dr. Young was confident enough with the situation to let Sunday’s NRL match between the Broncos and Sharks proceed at Suncorp Stadium without crowd restrictions.
She said the game was ticketed, and all attendees could be easily traced, with everyone forced to check in on arrival. There’s never been a coronavirus outbreak at any Queensland stadium.
“I am as comfortable as I can be that they are no riskier – in fact, I think safer than a lot of our indoor venues,” she said. Opposition leader David Crisafulli said Sunday’s numbers were very welcome, but small and family-owned businesses continue to hurt, especially during a lockdown and immediate aftermath.
He’s repeated demands for the premier to immediately stump up the money for smaller operators, saying Queensland was on its own in terms of refusing to provide that support.
“Businesses are prepared to accept the health advice for the greater good, but when a decision is taken beyond their control, they need to know they don’t have to carry the full burden all on their own,” he said.
Lockdown orders were lifted for Brisbane and Moreton Bay at 6pm on Saturday and a day earlier for nine other local government areas in the southeast, Townsville, and Magnetic and Palm Islands.