The Informer: Queensland fears superspreader on the loose

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith (top) and Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith (top) and Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young.

We seem a long way removed from last reporting about positive COVID cases in Australia. But no surprise, it's this week that the virus pops its head above the parapet again.

ACT Health reported two men returned weak positive results for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Both new patients, a man in his 40s and a teenager, tested negative before travelling to Singapore to take a repatriation flight to Canberra this week.

It was "likely but not definite" they acquired the infection in transit, authorities said. Contract tracing of a "very small group" of close contacts is now underway.

More alarming are the fears a COVID-19 "superspreader" may have passed on the virus to people on an international flight, and possibly in hotel quarantine.

Queensland reported seven new cases on Thursday, two of whom were in quarantine after arriving on a Qatar Airways flight in Brisbane on February 17. Four others on that plane have already tested positive for the new Russian variant COVID-19.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has alerted the national incident room of her fears.

Five new cases reported on Thursday were workers who arrived in Cairns on a chartered flight from the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea. More than 500 people at the mine have been infected and cases continuing to arrive in Queensland from Ok Tedi have strained healthcare capacity in Cairns.

On the vaccine front, Murray Bridge will become the first town in regional Australia to roll out the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.

Murray Bridge Soldiers' Memorial Hospital took delivery of of 1000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine while Mount Gambier received a 130,000-dose capacity freezer to store the Pfizer vaccine.

The vaccination rollout has so far involved the Pfizer vaccine, with about 61,000 doses administered, including about 18,000 residents in aged and disability care.

And when in doubt, opt for doing a survey. Here are some results from a life insurance company regarding the pandemic. Questions were asked in November 2020.

Apparently the pandemic "had a significant impact" on the working conditions of 46 per cent of Aussies asked, 45 per cent are spending less, and 24 percent said spending on entertainment had decreased.

The survey also showed 42 per cent of people spent more time with their families, 16 per cent spent more time outdoors, and 17 per cent have improved their fitness.

Possibly not that extraordinary. The one stat that had me wondering was this one: 59 per cent of people expect the pandemic will not affect their work in the future.

Really? More than half thought it will be business as usual? Wow.

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This story Queensland fears COVID superspreader on the loose first appeared on The Canberra Times.