Queensland has reported three new community COVID-19 cases linked to a flight attendant who was infected during hotel quarantine before spending some time in Brisbane.
One of the new cases is the manager of the Portuguese Family Centre, where the woman visited, who has been in home quarantine before testing positive.
The other two were traveling with a flight attendant when she was in Brisbane, and had been in hotel quarantine during her infectious period.
“I am not concerned that any of these three cases are a threat to the Queensland community,” Chief Health Officer Janet Young said on Thursday.
There have now been four cases involving flight attendants after a person who had visited the family center earlier this week tested positive.
Others who were at the center – 36 in total – are in isolation and are being monitored.
Dr Young said she was not worried about the latest outbreak because all those considered at risk are in quarantine.
The flight attendant’s positive result was confirmed by a routine test after visiting the family center as well as the factory outlet directly at Brisbane airport on Saturday.
It is believed that she was infected by a hotel quarantine worker who took a COVID positive guest in an ambulance and then went to the attendant’s room to swab her.
The Queensland cases have all been the alpha version, which Young called “much less contagious” than the Delta version circulating in Sydney.
“I strongly recommend that anyone in Queensland, unless you have an urgently unavoidable reason, this is not the time to move to New South Wales,” she said.
Queensland has now closed its borders to Greater Sydney and the surrounding areas of the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour, in response to the growing outbreak.
Meanwhile, plans are afoot to reunite a man in Hotel Quarantine in Sydney with his dying father in Queensland.
A quarantine exemption issued on Wednesday evening to Mark Killian and his partner Annelie Gerrick was conditional on “NSW finalizing arrangements for the couple’s safe transfer to Queensland”.
The couple were then granted a waiver by the Queensland state government and reached the Gold Coast on Thursday afternoon.
Killian and his partner were seen exiting the plane, stopping to take a selfie and hugging each other before being taken to a hangar and then departing the airport via ambulance.
“It will be something that I think we will all remember for the rest of our lives,” Killian told the Nine Network on Thursday.
“We’re not going on a vacation or a cruise, we’re going to do something that would be very sad, but at least the way we can do it now has a dignity.”
Mark’s father, Frans Killian, 80, is in a Gold Coast hospital with pancreatic cancer.
Killian and Gerrick are completing quarantine in Sydney after moving from Los Angeles to Australia more than a week ago.
Both have been vaccinated and have returned at least three negative coronavirus tests.
“We’re not sure what the plan is when we get (on the Gold Coast) … we’re taking it one step at a time,” Killian told Brisbane Radio 4BC on Thursday.
“There are plans in place to facilitate a trip with my dad, we just aren’t sure when it’s going to happen.”
Killian said his father was excited by the news.
“He was the first call we made and he was exactly (as) excited and emotional as he could have been in his state about the situation.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday that her state had done everything it could to allow reunification.
“At least a week ago… New South Wales made it clear that there was no impediment for them to make that trip.”
The decision on a quarantine exemption for the couple came after senior Killian requested Queensland Health to show mercy.
“Every day when they’re in that hotel is one less day in my last days with my son and daughter-in-law,” he said in a video appeal from his hospital bed