Queensland has recorded 17 locally acquired cases of COVID-19, with 16 linked to the cluster in Brisbane.
The majority of infections are connected to various schools in Brisbane or close contacts of previously confirmed cases.
The cluster in Brisbane now stands at 63 infections. There are also 100 active cases across the state, the highest number since the early stages of the pandemic.
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“In less than a week this has become our biggest outbreak since the first wave last year,” Deputy Premier Steven Miles said.
The 17th case was the one reported in Cairns late on Tuesday but it is not connected to the Brisbane outbreak.
The Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, said he likely caught it from somebody onboard one of the ships he pilots.
“He has acquired the Delta variant, most likely from one of those ships,” she said.
“So I just this morning got the whole genome sequence result back from him. It’s confirmed Delta. It is not the Delta strain that is circulating in Brisbane and it hasn’t clustered with any other known case of Delta in Queensland.
“So now those whole-genome sequence experts will go and see whether it clusters with any other case in Australia or overseas.
“But it’s highly likely he’s acquired this infection while he’s been about his work piloting one of those ships.”
There were 51,479 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, smashing the previous 24-hour testing record of 35,357.
Dr Young also revealed there is the possibility the lockdown won’t be lifted on Sunday as planned if things didn’t get under control.
“When I look at other states and how long it’s taken before they could lift their restrictions. If we don’t do something really, really, really special in Queensland, we’ll be extending the lockdown,” she said.
“So, please, I ask of all of you – try your absolute hardest to stay at home if you possibly can.”
The Deputy Premier said those continuing to leave their homes for reasons not deemed essential were putting the lifting of the restrictions at risk.
“very time someone leaves their home they increase the risk that this lockdown may need to go on longer,” Mr Miles said.
“We are still seeing some people going out to shop or to browse for non-essential reasons and while there is an exemption to allow people to leave their homes to get essential – groceries and medicines – that does not extend to other discretionary items.
“The onus is on the individual to have a reason to leave their home, not on retailers or businesses.
“Now, is not the time to buy outdoor furniture. There will be time before summer to get sun lounges.”
Mr Miles also confirmed the Ekka show holiday, due to be held next week, has been cancelled.
“I will be rescheduled to sometime later in the year. We have not yet determined when,” he said.
“Last year, when we delayed the public holiday to create a new special long weekend, we saw Queenslanders flock to tourist destinations, spending money in our hospitality businesses.
“We hope to create a similar opportunity again for Queenslanders to support our local tourism operators and local hospitality businesses.”