A person who recently took two Queensland flights with Virgin Australia has tested positive to COVID-19, forcing passengers into quarantine over the Christmas period.
On Monday, the positive case flew on Virgin flights VA 1105, Newcastle to Brisbane, and VA 375, Brisbane to Townsville.
All passengers on each flight have been deemed close contacts and have to quarantine over the next two weeks even if they give back a negative COVID test.
This period includes Christmas and Boxing Day, which for many, would have been the first opportunity to reconnect with friends and family in nearly five months,
People have been urged to frequently check the Queensland Health website for exposure sights.
“We can confirm these flights and exposure sites are in relation to a new positive COVID-19 case and more information will be provided (today),” Queensland Health said in a statement.
Newcastle recently experienced a rapidly-growing COVID cluster, due to an outbreak at a nightclub.
Case numbers rose in Newcastle after a prom night at the Argyle House last week saw more than 200 out of the 650 people at the event test positive for COVID.
According to ABC News, The quarantine mandate has been criticised by the head of the Australian Industry Group, saying the decision would hurt business and deter travel.
The group’s chief executive, Innes Willox, claimed the Queensland government were overreacting.
“Why Queensland hasn’t done what other states have done and said just the people sitting around this person should be considered close contacts rather than the whole plane is just unbelievable,” Willox said.
“What this will do is deter people from travelling to Queensland as there is no certainty.”
While people deemed close contacts in Queensland are currently required to immediately get tested for COVID-19, contact Queensland Health and isolate for 14 days, from 1 of January fully vaccinated close contacts will only need to quarantine for seven days if they test negative on day five of the isolation period.
Unvaccinated people are allowed into the Sunshine state, but they must undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine.