Two potential Omicron cases among six new local COVID-19 infections in Qld

Queensland has recorded six new locally-acquired cases of COVID-19 including two which may be the new Omicron strain.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath confirmed five of the six cases have been infectious in the community for up to six days across the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Goondiwindi, Wide Bay and Townsville.

Two of those cases are being treated as possible Omicron cases after arriving from Newcastle, where there has been a large outbreak of the new strain.


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“We can advise that one person was at the Argyle Hotel in Newcastle,” Ms D’Ath said.

“Although in both of these cases we are waiting for genomic sequencing, we are treating them as Omicron.

“Secondly, there was the gentlemen who flew from Newcastle to Brisbane then Brisbane to Townsville.

“This person had attended another exposure site in Newcastle.

“We are, at this stage, treating it as if it is Omicron.”

Passengers who were on board the same flights as this gentleman had been deemed close contacts, according to the Queensland Health website, which would have forced them all into quarantine over Christmas.

Following backlash, health officials have now agreed only those seated nearby will be close contacts, the rest casual.

“We took an extremely cautious approach,” Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said.

“This is the first domestic flight a likely Omicron flight has been diagnosed.

“But moving forward, following these discussions, we believe it will be safe to use our more usual infection control measures whereby we isolate or we quarantine those people two rows in front of and behind the person involved, even if it is Omicron.”

Dr Gerrard said the increase in COVID-19 cases aren’t a surprise following the border reopening on Monday.

“This is exactly what we expected,” he said.

“It will continue and these numbers will increase in coming days and week.”

He also revealed details about new cases would become less detailed as numbers continue to increase.

“As we go forward, we will probably be reporting this in a different way without going down to so much detail,” he said.

More exposure sites are expected to be added to the Queensland Health website later today.