Greater Brisbane out of lockdown but new restrictions roll out
The Greater Brisbane lockdown will end tonight as planned but masks will be mandatory in some places with the spread of the highly-contagious UK coronavirus strain still a threat.
For residents living in Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay and Redlands, the three-day lockdown ends at 6pm, meaning people can leave their homes for any reason and dine in at cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Despite Queensland recording no new cases of COVID-19 through community transmission overnight, new restrictions will take effect as soon as lockdown ends.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young says restrictions will ease at 1am on January 22, when the 14-day incubation period, relating to the cleaner at a quarantine hotel in Brisbane who caught the UK variant, finishes.
"We can't quite relax just yet," Dr Young says.
Face masks a must
Under the new restrictions, Greater Brisbane residents must carry a mask with them at all times and put it on while travelling on public transport, in taxis and ride shares, as well as at gyms, shopping centres, beauty parlours, hairdressers and cinemas.
At work, wearing a face covering is only required if employees aren't able to socially distance, and a covering isn't needed if you work outside.
People don't have to wear a mask inside hospitality venues - where they are eating and drinking - but they must stay seated at all times. Staff will be required to cover up.
We also don't have to wear a mask in our own cars, our homes or while exercising outdoors, including while walking the dog.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is encouraging people wear a mask as much as possible when out and about to stop the spread of the virus.
"If you feel people aren't socially distancing, wear a mask.
"When in doubt, wear a mask."
At cafes, pubs, clubs and restaurants, there can only be one person per four square metres in indoor areas and one person per two square metres in outdoor sections.
Dancing is not allowed, and people must stay seated while eating and drinking.
We are only allowed 20 people over to our house, and wedding and funeral numbers are capped at 100. Indoor concert venues and stadiums can only have 50 per cent crowd capacity.
LISTEN: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk discusses lifting the COVID lockdown in Greater Brisbane and the new restrictions
Another lockdown not off cards
The Premier wouldn't rule out going into another lockdown should there be just another single case of the UK mutant strain in Queensland.
"This is a whole new ball game, [the mutant strain] it's something we have never seen before.
"I don't have a crystal ball."
However, she says no new cases overnight is the "best news we could have hoped for", and she stressed more testing needs to be done to ensure the new strain is contained.
Contact tracers have managed to track down 340 contacts of the cleaner, of which 172 have returned negative results. But health authorities believe there are still people who came into contact with her who haven't come forward.
Anyone who visited Coles Sunnybank Hills Shoppingtown, on January 5 between 7.30am and 8.00am, Nextra Sunnybank Hills Newsagent, on the same day between 8am to 8.15am, and Woolworths Calamvale North, on January 3 between 11am and 12pm, needs to get tested and quarantine for 14 days since attending those venues.
Testing still a priority
Dr Young is praising the almost 19,000 people who came forward for testing in the past 24 hours and is pleading anyone with symptoms to get a swab.
"No cases and a lot of testing - the two have to go hand in hand.
"I will expect they [the restrictions] will be lifted on 1am January 22nd, we would have to have community transmission, not someone who is in isolation in their home."
"Our businesses know how this works, if we get this right and do everything we need to do, than we can move back to where we were before lockdown."
Queensland recorded four cases in hotel quarantine overnight - all came back from the UAE and two work for Emirates airlines.