Health authorities scramble to track Virgin passengers

QUEENSLAND recorded just 16 new cases of pandemic coronavirus in the past week, including a passenger on a Virgin Australia flight into Brisbane from Melbourne.

Public Health authorities are still trying to track down passengers from flight VA341 last Monday, who were seated in rows 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 to ask them to go into quarantine after someone seated nearby tested positive to the virus.

Passengers in those rows are asked to contact 13 HEALTH to advise they were on the flight.


Another two cases of the novel virus were diagnosed in Queensland on Saturday, taking total infections to 1026 and representing 11 days straight when new cases have been restricted to fewer than 10.

The increase of 16 cases across the seven days compares to 54 new diagnoses the previous week, indicating the growth rate in Queensland infections continues to trend down - ongoing evidence that the state is "flattening the curve".

Health Minister Steven Miles said the low number of positive cases was despite high levels of testing.

"We're conducting well over 2000 tests a day and still seeing low numbers. That means Queenslanders are doing the right thing and stopping the spread," Mr Miles said.

Experts will be watching case numbers very closely in the coming days following a loosening of who is eligible to be tested for the new virus.



On Friday, Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young changed the testing criteria to allow anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever, cough, sore throat or breathlessness, to be swabbed.

If case rates jump again on the back of the increased testing, concern will particularly turn to the diagnoses where the source of infection remains unknown.

Of the 560 Australian mystery cases, just 41 have been in Queensland, much lower than the 360 in NSW and 135 in Victoria.

More than 97,000 tests have been conducted for the novel coronavirus in Queensland during the past three months, accounting for about 1800 tests per 100,000 people.

Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Liam Kidston
Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Liam Kidston

The number of Queenslanders who have recovered from the virus jumped to 803 yesterday, more than 78 per cent of known infections.

Six Queenslanders, all aged in their 60s or older, have died from COVID-19.

Of the state's 217 cases that remain active, 18 were being treated in hospital yesterday, six of them in intensive care.

Dr Young said 964 of the state's cases - almost 94 per cent - had either recently travelled overseas or had close contact with a confirmed case, such as their partner or flatmate.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed the latest "encouraging signs" that Queensland measures to contain the spread of the new virus were working.

"None of this is easy - but it's worth it. It's working," she said.

Originally published as Health authorities scramble to track Virgin passengers