Genome sequencing has confirmed the Queensland case of Covid-19 is infected with the highly concerning UK variant.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, has now enforced restrictions to vulnerable facilities in Greater Brisbane as a precaution, while contact-tracing efforts continue.
“We’re taking a very cautious approach with this case, now that we know for sure this person has the UK variant of the virus,” she said.
Queensland is ‘taking firm action swiftly’
“Evidence shows that this variant is 70 percent more infectious than other strains. This is why I’m taking this firm action swiftly, to protect our most vulnerable facilities.”
Dr Young said visitors will be restricted at aged care facilities, hospitals, disability services and corrections facilities. These restrictions are imposed immediately.
“These restrictions apply to the Metro North, Metro South and West Moreton Hospital and Health Service regions,” she stated.
“And, as always, anyone with any symptoms should come forward for testing immediately and isolate until they receive the results – especially anyone in Brisbane.”
Monitor symptoms and retest if required
To assist with rapid testing, the Eight Mile Plains Community Health Centre testing clinic remained open throughout last night (Thursday), with Dr Young urging anyone who believed they may have the virus to visit the clinic straightaway.
“Critically, even if a negative test result is received, please continue to monitor for symptoms and get retested if necessary,” she warned.
A study of the new UK variant of the virus by London’s Imperial College found differences between this and other virus types to be “quite extreme”.
Most serious change since epidemic began
“There is a huge difference in how easily the variant virus spreads,” Professor Axel Gandy told BBC News. “This is the most serious change in the virus since the epidemic began.”
Prof Jim Naismith of Oxford University said he believed the new findings indicated that even tougher restrictions would soon be needed.
“Unless we do something different the new virus strain is going to continue to spread, [causing] more infections, more hospitalisations and more deaths,” he is quoted as saying by the BBC.