United Kingdom

Queensland walks back on promise of no more lockdown as Greater Brisbane told to stay home

Greater Brisbane has been plunged into a snap-three day lockdown despite health authorities promising the harsh restriction would never come again. 

More than two million residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for four essential reasons in Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redlands from 5pm Monday. 

Schools will be closed and businesses will have no choice but to shut up shop just days out from school and easter holidays, which are touted to be one of the busiest periods for the hospitality and tourism industry.

Restaurant and Catering Australia chief executive Wes Lamber expects $50 million to be lost in revenue while health authorities have been left red-faced after promising an end to the days of widespread lockdown.  

Only on March 19, Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young boasted health authorities had 12 months to refine an effective system of contact tracing so that widespread lockdowns would no longer be necessary. 

Greater Brisbane has been plunged into a snap-three day lockdown despite health authorities promising the harsh restriction would never come again (pictured, premier Annastacia Palaszczuk making the announcement on Monday)

Only on March 19, Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young boasted health authorities had 12 months to refine an effective system of contact tracing so that widespread lockdowns would no longer be necessary

More than two million residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for four essential reasons in Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redlands from 5pm Monday

'Absolutely, there's no need to go into lockdown when we've got responses like this,' Dr Young said.

'We've handled it beautifully, absolutely beautifully.'

Dr Young said authorities would only lockdown the most vulnerable people if there was ever a risk of another Covid-19 outbreak.

The promise came after a doctor at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane was discovered to be carrying the UK variant of Covid-19 on March 12.

Brisbane's hospitals, aged care homes, prisons and disability services were all placed into hard lockdown and authorities were confident they had stopped the spread of the virus.

Then on Friday, health authorities revealed a 26-year-old Stafford man had tested positive to the UK variant of the virus.

He was linked back to the Princess Alexandra Hospital cluster and it was revealed he had been out and about in the community while infectious since March 19.

Now authorities believe there is still an unidentified intermediary case that passed the virus on from the hospital to the Stafford man.  

Authorities will be working over the next three days to curb the spread of the virus while millions of residents will be forced to put their life on hold and wait indoors. 

Restaurant and Catering Australia chief executive Wes Lamber said tens of millions of dollars in revenue will be lost because of the lockdown.

'This means more staff stood down, up to $50 million in lost revenue and nearly $15 million in produce and stock thrown away, with more debt piling up,' he said.

Shoppers wait outside a Coles in New Farm in Brisbane as Ms Palaszczuk urged the city's residents not to panic buy despite the lockdown announcement

Shoppers outside a Woolworths in Newstead in Brisbane's inner-north form a socially distanced queue as they prepare to enter their latest three-day lockdown

'This lockdown is different. There is no JobKeeper safety net for these businesses, and little to no support will be forthcoming until after the lockdown is over.'

Daily Mail Australia contacted the Queensland Department of Health for comment.  

The UK strain of coronavirus - known as B117 - is believed to be at least 50 per cent more transmissable than other variants. 

Only two visitors will be allowed in the home under the new rules and restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway service only. 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Monday the state had recorded four new local cases of Covid-19 and six in hotel quarantine.  

Ms Palaszczuk said she was declaring the whole of Greater Brisbane a hotspot from 5pm and called on other states and territories to do so too.

'There is now more community transmission, and these people have been out and about in the community, and that is of concern to Queensland Health,' she said.  

Authorities will be working over the next three days to curb the spread of the virus while millions of residents will be forced to put their life on hold and wait indoors (pictured, Brisbane in lockdown in January)

BRISBANE'S THREE-DAY LOCKDOWN: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW RULES

Greater Brisbane's three-day lockdown will begin at 5pm on Monday March 29 after a new cluster of Covid cases grew to seven 

This includes Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redlands

- Schools, restaurants, pubs and cafes will be closed - but can open for takeaway

- People can only leave their homes for four essential reasons: essential work, essential shopping, medical and exercise 

- Masks will be mandatory everywhere inside in Greater Brisbane 

- Pubs, cafes and restaurants outside of Greater Brisbane will have to ensure all customers sit down  

- In the rest of Queensland, there is a 30-person limit on household gatherings 

'This will also enable our health authorities to get on top of the contact tracing,' she said. 

'I know this will mean some disruption to people's lives, but we've done this before, and we've got through it over those three days in the past, and if everyone does the right thing I'm sure that we will be able to get through it again.' 

One of the cases had travelled to Gladstone. Anyone who has been in Brisbane since March 20 will also come under the restrictions.   

A nurse who worked in a Covid-19 ward and her sister also spent time in the Byron Bay area while infectious. 

Queensland Health is waiting for genomic testing to find out whether or not she caught the virus while working in the ward.       

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