Qld flight attendant went to Dreamworld

Queensland's deputy premier says border residents should only use the travel bubble if essential.
Queensland's deputy premier says border residents should only use the travel bubble if essential.

A Queensland flight attendant with the highly contagious Delta variant visited Dreamworld, ate at a popular Gold Coast restaurant and also crewed six flights around the state.

Queensland could be plunged into another lockdown if tests show the QantasLink attendant spread COVID-19 to any of the centres she visited earlier this month.

They include Gladstone, Longreach and Hervey Bay, which she flew to and from, the Gold Coast, and her home city of Brisbane.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young revealed early on Friday that the attendant did not seek a test until Wednesday this week - nine days after she began showing symptoms on July 13.

It's presumed she was infectious two days before that, putting at risk every passenger and colleague on six flights she crewed on July 11 and 12.

Now it's emerged that the woman's initial claims to have been "essentially" at her Brisbane home from July 13 onwards are incorrect.

New exposure sites have been listed for the Koi Broadbeach restaurant on the Gold Coast on July 14, and the Dreamworld theme park two days later on July 16, between 10.30am and 2pm.

Guests who were there at that time have been told to get tested if they develop any symptoms.

Dreamworld said team members who came into direct contact with the positive guest are being identified, asked to isolate immediately and to present a negative test result before returning to work.

The woman returned a positive result on Thursday, one day after she finally presented for testing. She's since been taken from her Banyo home and is now in a COVID hospital.

Dr Young has urged people to closely monitor the list of exposure sites as it's updated, and could not explain why the woman waited so long after the onset of symptoms to get tested.

Health teams are going through the passenger lists for the at-risk flights, and Dr Young has said it is essential they get tested and isolate pending further advice.

Among those who already have is Queensland's Regional Development Minister Glenn Butcher, who was on one of the flights between Brisbane and Gladstone. He's waiting for his results.

Genomic sequencing has confirmed the flight attendant has a form of the virus identical to 60 cases from the NSW cluster, and she travelled to NSW in the course of her work.

But the exact route of transmission is not clear and there's one aspect about the case that has confused Dr Young - the lack of other cases given how much time has passed.

"We know that with the Delta variant it usually spreads within two days. In Victoria they're seeing spread from one person to the next in 30 hours," she said.

"I would have expected there'd be spread and then spread and then spread, and I've not seen that."

Dr Young told Queenslanders it was too soon to order another lockdown, but if more cases emerged "we'll do it fast if we need to do it. I just need a bit more information".

QantasLink said the infected flight attendant flew on six regional services on a 74-seat Dash-8 Q400 aircraft.

There have been no other reports of positive COVID cases from these flights and the cabin crew member did not leave the airport in Longreach or Hervey Bay, the airline said.

Other crew are being tested and must isolate for 14 days from the last shift they worked with the woman, which in this case is three or four more days.

"Qantas has previously called for priority access for crew to receive COVID vaccination, given their role of flying to multiple cities and towns in a day," the airline said.

Additional testing capacity is being stood up in Gladstone, Longreach and Hervey Bay.

Meanwhile, fragments of the virus have been found in sewage in the Byron Bay area.

Acting Premier Steven Miles said the situation was being monitored closely and it was vital that residents in northern NSW and southern Queensland only used the cross-border travel bubble for essential trips.

Queensland's borders remain closed to NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

Australian Associated Press