'Tell the truth': Nurse blasted over overseas trip


A SUSPENDED Rockhampton aged care nurse under investigation for returning to work while waiting the results of a coronavirus test had travelled to Kuala Lumpur two months ago.

The revelation has come weeks after the discovery of the case in Rockhampton, angering the state's Deputy Premier as he fielded questions during a press conference to announce the state's new case total.

No new cases were recorded in Queensland overnight, leaving only six cases active from the total of 1058.

The nurse is also being probed as the possible source of infection of a Blackwater miner who died this week with COVID-19.

The Courier-Mail understands the nurse flew back to Queensland from Kuala Lumpur via Singapore in late March.

The news has angered health officials, with Deputy Premier Steven Miles expressing his frustration as he announced the state's latest case total.




"It's incredibly disappointing that someone would even lie to public health officials," he said.

"When a public health officer contacts you, it is important you are honest, truthful and fulsome with what you tell them,

"There are literally lives at risk.

"We need you to tell the truth."


The North Rockhampton Nursing Centre in Rockhampton which went into lockdown after a nurse at the facility tested positive for coronavirus. (AAP Image/Levi Appleton)
The North Rockhampton Nursing Centre in Rockhampton which went into lockdown after a nurse at the facility tested positive for coronavirus. (AAP Image/Levi Appleton)


Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the nurse's 'story has been changed so many times' and an investigation was underway.

The nurse was diagnosed with pandemic coronavirus on May 14, putting the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre where she worked as an enrolled nurse into lockdown.

Queensland Health has announced an external investigation into her case and how she was able to return to work while awaiting the results of a test for the new virus. The terms of reference are yet to be announced.





After the death on Tuesday of Blackwater man Nathan Turner, 30, the first COVID-19 case in Queensland's outback, it emerged the nurse had driven the 400km round trip from Rockhampton to the central Queensland mining town to see "a sunrise or sunset", creating speculation she may have been the source of the coal miner's infection.

But she has told contact tracers she did not interact with other people while visiting Blackwater.

The Blackwater drive was in breach of Queensland public health restrictions brought in to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

News of her travel to Malaysia two months ago has created more complexity around how she contracted the virus.



Queensland Health officials have suspected she was infected on a trip to Brisbane to see an orthopaedic surgeon in late April-early May.

But with two other Queensland women testing positive two months after overseas trips in recent weeks, the mystery surrounding how the Rockhampton nurse developed the virus has only deepened.

The Courier-Mail understands the nurse has undergone serology testing for the virus, which detects signs of the body's immune response. That testing, which picks up antibodies in a person's blood, can provide some indication of how far into the disease process a person is.

Further genetic testing is also underway to compare the virus acquired by Mr Turner with the strain the Rockhampton nurse had to determine the likelihood of the woman being the source of the young man's infection.

Originally published as 'Don't lie': Nurse blasted after shock overseas trip revelation