Greater Brisbane locked down: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk makes shock COVID announcement

By: Elizabeth Daoud

Greater Brisbane will go into a hard three-day lockdown after one local case of COVID was recorded on Thursday.

The area, which includes Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton Bay and Redlands, will go into lockdown from 6pm Friday to 6pm Monday.

Residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for one of four essential reasons – essential work, health or compassionate care, exercise and essential shopping.

Masks will also be mandated in Greater Brisbane if residents leave their homes during the weekend.

Funerals and weddings will also be restricted to 20 people and places of worship, cinemas, entertainment and recreation venues and gyms will be closed.

Restaurants and cafes will only be allowed to stay open for takeaway and households can have no more than two visitors per day.

Residents have also been asked to avoid non-essential activities such as hairdressers, nail salons, cinemas and gyms.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state was imposing the lockdown early to stop the spread of the virus.

“We are going to go hard and we are going to go early to stop the spread of this virus,” she told reporters on Friday.

“Think of it as a long weekend at home.

“If we do not do this now, it could end up being a 30-day lockdown.

“If we get through the next three days and we don’t have any cases, well, then, fingers crossed we’re out of woods.”

Greater Brisbane now a ‘hotspot’

Greater Brisbane has also been declared a COVID hotspot, Palaszczuk said.

“I’m also asking my colleagues from other jurisdictions to also declare Greater Brisbane a hotspot until we get through this together,” she said.

Queensland recorded nine new cases of COVID on Friday. All were in returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

The lockdown comes after a hotel quarantine worker became infected with the UK variant of COVID that is “70 per cent more infectious”.

The positive case, a woman in her 20s, was infectious from January 2 before testing positive after showing symptoms on Wednesday.

She worked at the hotel Grand Chancellor on January 2 and contact tracers are working to determine her movements.

“We need to take a pause for the next three days and just see what this single case means,” Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said.

“I’m really concerned that if we were to have cases from this very, very contagious, infectious virus, we wouldn’t be able to get on top of it.

“That’s why we have to bring this in fast, rather than be able to wait and see what the extent of the spread is, because once it is spread, it will be too late to act.”

Anyone who has been to the Greater Brisbane area since January 2 is also advised to stay at home for the next three days.

The announcement comes on the same day that Palaszczuk and the rest of Australia’s state and territory leaders are set to meet for a National Cabinet meeting.

Brisbane lockdown puts Gabba Test into question

The lockdown also throws into question Australia’s Test against India at the Gabba next week, which was already in doubt.

India are pushing for relaxed conditions in hotel quarantine before they travel to Brisbane, but that now looks highly unlikely to be approved.

The BCCI wants its players to be able to eat meals together and have team meetings inside their hotel instead of only being allowed out of their rooms to train.