Qld borders stay open as second mutant strain detected
A second case of the South African variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed while Queensland's borders will remain open to NSW and Victoria.
The new case of the mutant strain was detected in a recently returned overseas traveller to Queensland.
Meanwhile, Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young today said a decision on border restrictions amid worsening COVID outbreaks in NSW and Victoria would be made on January 8.
No new cases were reported in Queensland today.
Dr Young said the man who tested positive to the super-contagious South African strain was aged in his 50s and had travelled from South Africa, the UK and Qatar.
He was currently in hospital.
"This detection further highlights the importance of our hotel quarantine policy, especially for overseas travellers," she said.
"Cases are rising at a rapid rate internationally and new variants like this one may be difficult to contain in the community. Our best approach is ensuring potential cases are detected where they pose no risk to other Queenslanders."
The diagnosis comes after a woman tested positive to the South African variant earlier this week.
Dr Young said she was closely monitoring the New South Wales cluster and the new Victorian cases.
"While we are not changing any restrictions to New South Wales and Victoria at this stage, as we've seen, things can change really quickly with this virus, so I continue to urge Queenslanders travelling to these states to reassess their plans - if it is not necessary, then consider staying here," she said.
"The situation in Victoria and NSW is still very concerning. Queensland is in a good position right now because we acted quickly to declare greater Sydney a hotspot.
"The health and safety of Queenslanders has and always will be our first priority when making these decisions.
"We've worked hard to keep COVID-19 out of the Queensland community and we do not want that to come undone because of complacency - so please keep up your social distancing, hand washing, and providing contact details at venues."
Traces of COVID-19 have also been detected in sewage at two sites in Queensland.
Routine testing returned positive results for viral fragments in wastewater at treatment plants at Bundaberg and Elanora on the Gold Coast.
The samples were both collected on December 30.
Dr Young said continued positive sewage results were particularly concerning given the New South Wales cluster and new cases in Victoria.
"These positive test results are concerning as they may indicate either a recovered case or undetected active cases living in or visiting the area," she said.
"It is very important that anyone in the Bundaberg and Elanora catchments who has COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, comes forward for testing. If there are active cases in the area, it is important that we detect them early to prevent further transmission.
"It's not just residents we want to reach, but holiday-makers as well.
"We've announced 12 wastewater results in the past eight days, and Queenslanders are
responding fantastically by getting tested - please keep it up."
Recent wastewater tests revealed positive results at several wastewater sites across Queensland in Bundamba, Merrimac, Wynnum, Bundaberg, Bargara, Victoria Point, Oxley Creek, Goodna, Fairfield, Cairns North, Redcliffe and Nambour.
Queensland has had 1253 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, with 13 still active. The state recorded 5105 tests in the last 24 hours.
Originally published as Qld borders stay open to NSW as second mutant strain detected