Victoria reports 190 new Covid cases as 1,000 families forced to isolate in Queensland

Victoria has reported 190 new locally acquired Covid cases while Queensland health authorities have ordered more than 1,000 south-east Queensland families to quarantine for two weeks after they were potentially exposed to coronavirus by a four-year-old girl infected by an interstate truck driver.

The Victorian cases were down from the 208 new cases reported on Friday, which was the highest number since 22 August.

A total of 103 of the new virus cases are linked to other known cases. There are 1,301 active cases in the state.

There are 76 people with Covid-19 in Victorian hospitals, including 23 in intensive care, the Victorian industry support minister, Martin Pakula, said on Saturday. None of those people have been fully vaccinated.

Pakula announced the Victorian government would split $2.34bn in funding with the federal government to support more than 175,000 businesses over the next four weeks.

A new tiered payments system for the Business Costs Assistance Program would allow for higher payments to businesses with more workers, the minister said.

Program payments will be automatically made at rates of $2,800, $5,600 and $8,400 a week over September, depending on payroll size.

Eligible cafes, restaurants and bars will continue to receive Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund payments of between $5,m000 and $20,000 per week.

The Small Business Covid Hardship Fund will increase the grant amount to $20,000 for about 35,000 businesses and the deadline for applications will be extended.

An Alpine support package will also help sustain resorts through the remainder of the season, Pakula said, with an automatic top-up payment of between $10,000 and $40,000.

Saturday’s data confirmed that more than 2,553,000 vaccinations have been administered in Victoria.

A further 50,000 priority vaccine appointments will also be available for senior high school students in Victoria from Monday, with pop-up vaccination hubs at several schools.

Most of the state’s restrictions will remain in place until at least 70% of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated, though some reprieve will be granted when 70% have received their first dose.

The state was forecast to hit that initial mark on 23 September, but it has since been revised to 18 September.

In Queensland, the state’s chief health officer, Jeanette Young, said the four-year-old girl who tested positive to Covid on Friday was likely infectious in the community for two days and attended the Boulevard Early Learning Centre in Windaroo.

The girl is the daughter of a close family friend of a Logan truck driver who was diagnosed with the virus on Thursday and had been active in the community for five days.

A hundred families whose children attended the same early learning centre have been forced into 14 days of home quarantine. Some 960 families of children who attend Windaroo State School must also isolate for 14 days, after the school was attended by 30 students who also went to before and after school hours care at the daycare centre.

Young said she believed the risk posed by the girl was “under control” and was more concerned about the truck driver, who was active in the community for several days with a high viral load.

“I’m very, very concerned we have had this transmission,” she said. “I know from the … truck driver’s test result he had a lot of virus there.

“The child didn’t, so I’m actually less concerned about the child, and I think we have that in hand in terms of having locked down that childcare centre and the school.”

A public health alert has also been issued for Beenleigh Marketplace, which the infected truck driver visited between 10.30am and 11.45am on Monday.

Those who were there at the time are asked to get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.

Authorities are most concerned about the the Stylish Nail Salon inside the centre, which was visited by the driver, as not all of the salon’s customers had checked in.

“There was one person during that time, checked in … but we know there was at least eight customers there in addition to this gentleman … so we do need people to come forward,” the Queensland health minister, Yvette D’Ath, said.

“Businesses and individuals all have a responsibility to make sure that people are checking in.”

Restrictions will remain at their current setting, Young said, but could be ramped up if health authorities identify transmission at the Beenleigh Marketplace.

“This is a really high risk period for us,” she said. “It depends if we find cases who went to the Beenleigh Marketplace and have since then been out infectious in the community in an uncontrolled situation.

“That would lead me to think that we need to consider a lockdown.”

Anyone in the Beenleigh and Logan areas with even the mildest of symptoms is urged to come forward for testing.

One overseas-acquired case was also diagnosed in hotel quarantine on Friday.


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