QLD COVID-19 | Returned traveller tests positive for “very contagious” South African strain

Queensland has recorded no new local COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, however two returned travellers have tested positive.

The pair were the only new cases in the state on Tuesday, and were detected while in hotel quarantine.

It comes as Queensland Health today revealed a woman who arrived in Queensland from overseas on December 22 has tested positive for the new South African variant of coronavirus.


“This will be the first positive case of the South African variant in Australia,” Health Minister Yvette D’Ath told reporters on Tuesday.

“We have seen other jurisdictions record a UK variant, but this is the first time the South African one has been identified in Australia.”

Ms D’Ath said thankfully the woman was still in hotel quarantine when she tested positive and has since been transferred to hospital on the Sunshine Coast.

“We are absolutely confident that all proper measures were taken at the hotel and in the transfer and of course at the hospital in relation to this positive case,” Ms D’Ath said.

“But what this positive case reaffirms is that it is really important that we maintain our strong hotel quarantine position,” she added.

“Anyone coming from overseas should expect that they will have to spend their 14 days in hotel quarantine or in hospital, and that very few exemptions will be granted, because we are seeing an increased risk based on the positive cases overseas and the number of positive cases we are now getting returning to Australia and of course this new variant.”

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said the South African variant is considered to be “more contagious”.

“Genome sequencing has come back to show she has this new variant that has been picked up in South Africa… It is thought to be more contagious,” Dr Young said.

“We have just gone back and double-checked that in the hotel, transfer and ambulance and hospital that there have been no concerns… We haven’t found any concerns there.”

Dr Young said all positive cases in Queensland are being transferred into hospitals “so we can make hotels as safe as we possibly can”.

There are now 11 active cases of COVID-19 in the state.