A ghost town: Brisbane under a 3-day lock down to squash an outbreak of the UK Covid-19 strain even before it starts!


Excerpts from:

By Emma Pollard and Phoebe Hosier


What are the rules?

If you live in any of the five local government areas that encompass Greater Brisbane, it’s mandatory for you to wear a mask when you leave your home during lockdown.

If you’re driving into Greater Brisbane from elsewhere during the lockdown, you must have a mask ready to wear.

You can take your mask off while eating and drinking and while at your home.

You must wear a mask while:

  • Driving your car
  • Doing exercise
  • In workplaces
  • At weddings or funerals
  • Shopping at supermarkets and shopping centres
  • On public transport or shared transport

Do I really need to wear a mask in the car?

Yes — even if you are alone while driving.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the mask rule also applied to people in cars because health officials wanted to make mask use “as simple as possible for everybody”.

“When you leave your household, put it on and keep it on until you get back home … including in the car,” she said.

Dr Short agreed.

“I think because of the short timeframe that this has all happened in, we want clear, concise instructions for everyone to follow,” she said.

“So if you put on your mask as soon as you leave the front door — no questions, no exceptions, then that’s much easier to follow.”

How long do I need to wear it for?

Anyone in the Greater Brisbane region is required to wear a mask when they leave their home throughout the lockdown period from 6:00pm Friday until 6:00pm Monday January 11.

But this could be extended depending on what happens with case numbers.

How do I wear it?

To wear your face mask correctly you should:

  • Wash your hands with soap or hand sanitiser before putting on your mask
  • Tie the mask around your head or put the loops over your ears
  • Make sure the mask completely covers both your nose and mouth and there are no gaps between your face and the mask
  • If you’re wearing a surgical mask, press the top of the mask to shape your nose
  • Make sure your mask doesn’t have holes or valves

Queensland Health said a bandana or scarf could be used but only as a last resort.

Who is exempt?

Children aged 12 years and under do not need to wear a mask.

Can I really be fined for not wearing one?


Fines of $200 apply to those caught not wearing a mask for no legitimate reason.

In the first night of Greater Brisbane’s lockdown, police handed out more than 300 masks.

Three men were issued with $1,334 fines in separate matters for failing to comply with the Chief Health Officer’s directions after they each refused to wear a mask and left their residence for non-essential reasons.

Can I reuse my mask?

Surgical masks cannot be reused.

Queensland Health recommends putting your used surgical mask in a sealable bag and then placing it in a closed bin.

Cloth masks can be reused but Queensland Health advises washing them after every use.

“Reusing a cloth mask without washing it is risky because it can become contaminated or may not be as effective in protecting you,” Queensland Health said.

“For each new situation, put on a clean mask. Carry your clean masks in a plastic or paper bag to keep them clean.”



A returned traveller who completed mandatory hotel quarantine in Melbourne before flying to Queensland has returned a positive result for the more transmissible UK variant of the virus.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young told reporters on Saturday that the woman had arrived in Victoria from the United Kingdom on December 26 and completed hotel quarantine.

“She did the ten days required isolation, cleared all her symptoms, and was allowed to leave Victoria and fly to Queensland,” she said.

The woman travelled to Brisbane on Jetstar flight JQ570 arriving at 11pm on January 5.

She was tested in Queensland on Friday when she returned another positive result – but Dr Young said the risk is “extremely low”.

“The risk is extremely low because she is right at the end of her potential infectious period, and with a normal variant, we would not be at all concerned,” Dr Young said.

The woman is now in isolation at home with her parents at Maleny on the Sunshine Coast.

“Her parents have been tested and we’re working through any close contacts that need to be looked at there,” Dr Young added.

She said she did not know whether the woman was infectious while on the domestic flight.

“We will be contact tracing those people on the flight who sat in the two rows in front, behind, either side, and we will be putting out messaging for other people on that flight to be aware and get tested if they develop any symptoms,” she said.

“Anyone who lives in Maleny and that area around Maleny, if they develop any symptoms, could they please come forward immediately and get tested.

“As I stress, this is very, very, very low risk, but it is not zero risk, so we are just taking all of those precautions.”






Sky News reporter Brendan Smith says Brisbane is now a “ghost town” as the strict three-day lockdown announced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk comes into full effect.

From 6pm Friday, residents in the local council areas of Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands are required to stay home until 6pm Monday night, and only allowed to receive two visitors into their homes.

Ms Palaszczuk confirmed they will only be allowed to leave their homes for four essential reasons, including shopping for essential goods, providing health care or support for a vulnerable person, work – if working from home is absolutely not possible – and exercise.

A mask mandate will be implemented for the same time period – with residents in the same local government areas required to don a mask upon leaving their place of residence.

The state reported one new infection on Thursday in a hotel quarantine cleaner. Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown was in response to concerns the mutant strain of the virus from the United Kingdom could enter the community and very quickly spiral out of control.

Mr Smith said Brisbane’s CBD has now become a “ghost town” after the lockdown came into play. He also spoke of the “simply ridiculous” panic buying scenes which were seen in Brisbane ahead of the lockdown.

“There is simply no need to do it based on the fact that all shopping centres and supermarkets will be remaining open,” he said.

“The next 72 hours really is going to be crucial to see if anybody else is positive.”









Three-day lockdown imposed on Greater Brisbane to stop spread of mutant COVID strain

Key points:

  • Woman infected with UK strain has 79 close contacts and had 689 “movements” in the community
  • There were no new community transmission cases overnight, however nine people tested positive in hotel quarantine
  • Two visitors allowed at home during lockdown, non-essential businesses to close

From 6:00pm tonight people living in Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands will be required to stay home until 6:00pm Monday in a bid to stop the spread of the highly-infectious United Kingdom strain of the virus.

It comes after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel in Brisbane tested positive yesterday to the mutant strain and was in the community for five days.

All residents in those areas need to stay at home unless it is for essential work, providing healthcare for a vulnerable person, or essential shopping and exercise in your neighbourhood.

If you do go outside, masks in those areas will be mandatory, however children under the age of 12 are exempt.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was a harsh but necessary decision.

“Think of it as a long weekend at home, we need to do this,” she said.

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

“If you’re scheduled to go and visit some friends in another part of the state, I would urge you to reconsider that and to stay at home.”

More fragments detected in wastewater

The lockdown comes as COVID-19 fragments were detected in four more wastewater sites in Queensland.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the viral fragments were detected at wastewater treatment plants at Gibson Island water treatment plant near Hemmant, Cleveland Bay at Townsville, Pulgul at Hervey Bay and a site in Maryborough.

Long queues formed at supermarkets within an hour of the announcement, prompting Queensland Health to urge people not to panic buy.

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