Queensland declares Virgin flight from Newcastle a COVID exposure site

All passengers on the first Newcastle to Brisbane flight since borders opened will spend Christmas in self-isolation after their flight was declared a high COVID-19 risk.

The declaration came amid a rapidly growing coronavirus cluster in Newcastle, linked to a superspreader event at a nightclub and likely involving the new Omicron variant.

Queensland Health on Tuesday night declared Monday’s Virgin Australia flight 1105 Newcastle to Brisbane flight a close contact exposure site, along with parts of Brisbane Airport and a connecting flight to Townsville.
Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 plane
All of Monday’s VA1105 Newcastle to Brisbane flight is a close contact exposure site. (Virgin Australia)

The list of exposure sites indicates a COVID-positive patient flew from Newcastle and directly on to Townsville on flight VA375, all the passengers on which have also been deemed close contacts.

Select passengers on four flights from Melbourne and Sydney to Brisbane on Saturday, before the border opened, will also have to isolate through Christmas after being in close contact with a positive case.

The Queensland alert comes after NSW authorities on Tuesday alleged a reveller from a COVID-spreading Sydney Harbour boat party breached isolation on December 8 to attend the Argyle House nightclub at the centre of the Newcastle outbreak.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard. (Nine)

“What we do know is that out of the 650 to 680 people, there are now more than 200 patrons positive for COVID-19,” NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told 2GB.

Testing is underway to see if these cases are the Omicron variant, something health authorities previously said was likely.

A separate COVID-19 patient has sparked a series of exposure alerts in Goondiwindi, on Queensland’s border with New South Wales.

Queensland also has a fresh Omicron case, but the person, who had travelled from Kenya, is in quarantine.

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