Alpha strain detected in Queensland’s five new cases as lockdown ends

Queensland has recorded five new local cases of Covid-19 overnight, health authorities have announced.The state currently has two strains of coronavirus circulating after two of Saturday’s new cases were confirmed to have the Alpha variant.
Earlier this week a woman who worked as a receptionist at a hospital was diagnosed with the Delta strain.
One of the weekend’s new cases was a man who tested positive on day 12 and was linked to the Portuguese cluster while the second was a man in his 50s who works at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
“We got his genome sequencing result back late yesterday and it’s Alpha and it clusters with the Portuguese restaurant cluster,” Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said.
“So, he’s acquired it through some process of contact with someone who’s been there, or someone else who’s got infected from there.”
A 29-year-old Brisbane man who has travelled to Eumundi, is linked to the Carindale mother and daughter whose positive tests were announced on Friday.
Another case is a woman from Everton Park, who is in her 50s. She worked one shift at the Prince Charles Hospital, and is believed to have the Delta strain.
Saturday’s final case is a man in his 50s who works as a baggage handler at Brisbane Domestic Airport.
The Delta strain of Coronavirus is the Indian variant, while the Alpha strain is a mutation from the UK.
The Alpha variant was the first to be listed as a ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health Organisation, and was estimated to be 50 per cent more transmissible than the first detected strains of Covid-19.
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This has now been surpassed by the Delta variant, which was first detected in India in October 2020 and is believed to be 40 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha mutation.
NSW is currently battling an outbreak of Delta cases, with 35 new cases recorded in the community on Saturday.
The developments in Queensland have sent health authorities into a contact-tracing scramble as more exposure sites were listed in the Brisbane community.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the extended three-day lockdown for the Brisbane City and Moreton Bay regions would lift at 6pm tonight but the state was “not out of the woods yet”.
Masks will still be mandatory for residents and Ms Palaszczuk said businesses should not let people enter unless they had checked in.
452 masks were handed out by police this week while four people were fined for not wearing their masks.
Dr Young said restrictions would still remain in place and people would need to remain sensible and cautious.
“We just need to get more people vaccinated as we go forward,” she said.
Three cases are in hotel quarantine having returned from Indonesia, Japan and South America.