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SYDNEY: COVID-19 alert has been raised in two Australian states after an infected woman and her husband traveled from Victoria – which is currently blocked – through New South Wales and into Queensland, visiting dozens of attractions along the way.
New South Wales and Queensland authorities are rushing to track down close contacts and locate virus hotspots. The couple could be prosecuted for violating COVID-19 border restrictions.
Authorities said a 44-year-old woman once tested positive for COVID-19 in Queensland and her husband has tested positive since then.
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’At told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday that tests on the couple showed they were likely out of their infectious period.
“This means that the risk is lower than we expected yesterday, and this is really positive news,” D’At said. No other cases were reported from the state.
Australia has largely contained all previous outbreaks through emergency lockdowns, regional border controls and rapid contact tracing, with just over 30,200 cases and 910 deaths since the start of the pandemic. No cases have been reported on most days this year.
Queensland authorities said they are investigating whether the couple, who came from Melbourne, has permission to enter the state, despite the fact that their home state of Victoria is under strict quarantine.
Queensland has issued warnings for parts of the Sunshine Coast, a popular tourist destination, and two regional areas.
New South Wales authorities said the couple traveled mostly through regional cities for five days last week.
“Overall, we are speaking to our regional communities: be on high alert, this is a real and real danger to us, as people who are positive, traveling through our state, stopping at multiple locations, put our state at risk,” said in New South Wales said Minister Brad Hazzard.
New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, has not reported a single local case of COVID-19 in more than a month, while Queensland last reported cases at the end of March.
Victoria on Thursday reported four new cases of local infection, up from one a day earlier, bringing the total number of infections in the latest outbreak to 90.
New cases come as Melbourne prepares to emerge from its two-week isolation on Thursday night, although some travel and meeting restrictions remain.
Victoria said the cases on Thursday belonged to the same family and an investigation into the source is ongoing.
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