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Virus Outbreak Inevitable In Australian State; Chief Health Officer

Queensland's chief health officer has warned there will likely be a rise in cases on the same day that a Brisbane school was shut.

BRISBANE, Australia — Queensland’s chief health officer said it’s “almost inevitable” that Covid-19 cases will rise in the state in the coming months.

Jeannette Young said the state has weathered 13 incursions of the virus from interstate and hotel quarantine in the last six weeks.

“It is a wonder,” she said.

There are only 42 active Covid-19 cases in the northeastern Australian state, Queensland, amid climbing cases numbers in New South Wales and recent outbreaks in Victoria and South Australia.

The chief health officer is urging people to wear face masks with an outbreak of the Delta strain in the state a near certainty.

“Queensland, Covid-19 is coming,” Young wrote.

“It is unfortunate but almost inevitable that we will see a rise in Covid-19 cases here in coming months. That is why I am pleading with Queenslanders to wear masks when they are in public. It is more than a public health direction; it’s also one of our most effective weapons against this virus, especially the insidious Delta variant.”

A cleaning crew arrives at Indooroopilly State High School in Brisbane, July 30, 2021. The school is shut for deep cleaning after a student tested positive for Covid-19. (Dan Peled/AAP Image)

Young’s warning comes as a large Brisbane school was reportedly shut down due to a person connected to it testing positive.

Multiple media outlets reported that Indooroopilly State High School‘s acting executive principal Derek Weeks said to parents that the school would be closed for 48 hours for deep cleaning.

“I will continue to liaise with the department, and we will continue to take the advice from Queensland Health,” he wrote.

“It is important we continue to follow Covid-safe measures including good hygiene, physical distancing, and staying at home if unwell. We also must adhere to any Chief Health Officer directions, such as wearing face masks. If you, or a member of your family, are feeling unwell or displaying symptoms of Covid-19, please consult your general practitioner.”

Meanwhile, authorities are on alert after a man with Covid-19 flew between Brisbane and Perth last week.

Young said the man initially arrived in Brisbane on a flight from the Philippines via Papua New Guinea on July 3 and entered hotel quarantine.

After 14 days and three negative tests, he flew to Perth on July 17 or 18, where he was denied entry and put into hotel quarantine.

The man was then put on Qantas flight 932, which arrived in Brisbane on July 20.

He became unwell while staying at a backpackers hostel in Brisbane and tested positive for the Alpha variant on July 26.

Young said contact tracers were tracking down other passengers on the flight and hostel guests.

Authorities have tested 62 guests at the Brisbane City Backpackers Headquarters and the neighboring Joe’s Place Backpackers.

Young said 59 tests were negative while results were pending on three others.

However, one man was taken away from one of the hostels in an ambulance on July 29.

Authorities have also transferred 10 Covid-19 patients from a ship docked at Weipa to Brisbane hospitals for treatment in the state’s far north.

Eleven crew members remain on board MV Sanyu; nine are positive cases, and two tested negative.

Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra

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