Authorities across three states are now scrambling to track the movements of a Melbourne couple who fled the city during the latest lockdown, sparking a major COVID-19 scare.
The woman and her husband made it all the way to the Sunshine Coast before the woman became sick and tested positive to COVID-19 yesterday.
During their travels, the pair stopped at a number of regional areas across New South Wales and Queensland, with the list of exposure sites in both states expected to grow today.
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Queensland’s top doctor said urgent contact tracing is underway in a bid to identify anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.
“We know the woman travelled by car from Melbourne on the 1 June and arrived in the Sunshine Coast on the 5 June,” Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said.
“We are working diligently to determine where the woman stopped after leaving Melbourne, crossing the border into New South Wales and arriving in Queensland.
“While we are still determining the patient’s serology, we are closely working with her to gather necessary information, including other places she may have visited.”
A Public Health Alert has been issued for parts of the Sunshine Coast, Goondiwindi, and Toowoomba, along with Gillenbah, Forbes, Dubbo and Moree in regional NSW.
Authorities are still working to determine how the couple slipped through.
“I don’t know the details, why they left, what their reason was… At the moment I am absolutely focused on getting the details out there, but of course we will be looking into how this happened,” Dr Young said.
The woman, aged in her 40s, and the woman’s husband are being managed by Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service.
Anyone with symptoms, which include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue or loss of smell and/or taste, is being urged to come forward and get tested immediately.
Meantime, Queensland is removing the hotspot declaration for the state of Victoria from 1.00am Friday, but hotspot restrictions will remain in place for Greater Melbourne residents.
“Victoria has done an excellent job returning low case numbers, but they are continuing some local restrictions for Greater Melbourne,” Dr Young said.
“Because of this, Greater Melbourne will remain as a hotspot.
“This means anyone arriving from outside of Greater Melbourne from 1am Friday 11 June will be able to enter Queensland without quarantining.”