Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said testing clinics would remain open during Christmas and New Year, but patients should check their opening hours on the Queensland Health website.
“I am concerned that we do have the virus now in Queensland. We have seen those positive sewage results and we known there are a lot of people who have come back into Queensland from that northern beaches area and other parts of Sydney,” she said.
Health officials have detected COVID-19 traces in wastewater results at three new Queensland sites – Wynnum on Brisbane’s bayside, along with Bargara and Bundaberg, about 350 kilometres north.
It followed earlier wastewater detections in Cairns, Townsville, the Gold Coast and Brisbane bayside suburb of Cleveland. They mean somebody who had the virus, potentially weeks ago, is shedding it.
Dr Young said Christmas hugs should only be shared between close family, except for the elderly.
“If you are having Christmas Day with your close family, then you are having a lot of time with them, so you would be deeper close contact, so yes, if that is your normal tradition, you can hug your close family members,” she said.
Queensland’s borders will remain closed until at least January 8.
The Australian Defence Force has refused to supply military personnel to help local police patrol the interstate border checkpoints.
“Our police have been doing an incredible job but I know, particularly Victoria and Queensland, would welcome any support from the ADF in helping us manage those borders,” Ms D’Ath said.
“We have seen people trying to come over our borders where knowing that people are frustrated and wanting to get into the state … For those who want to flaunt the law, there are fines for doing so, for those want to give us false information there are fines and we will implement these fines.”
Almost 350 people have been refused entry into Queensland since the hard road border checkpoints at the NSW border were reintroduced two days ago.
Gold Coast Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said 159 vehicles had been turned away at the road border, containing 347 people.
More than 379,000 border pass applications have been made since the border pass system was reintroduced following the Sydney outbreak.
“Yesterday [Wednesday] on the M1 we saw at 3pm a peak delay of about 90 minutes, in and around the Tweed back streets we’re seeing delays measured in hours, and that’s unfortunate,” he said.
Superintendent Wheeler had strong words for people abusing police at checkpoints, saying officers who had been rostered off for Christmas were now working at the checkpoints.
“Bear in mind, a lot of police we have working here were going to have Christmas Day off, Boxing Day off, public holidays. They have been at this for 250 days straight. They have come back to try and help, so they are people you are abusing,” he said.
The SES has also rejoined the checkpoints to ease pressure on police.
Toby Crockford is a breaking news reporter at the Brisbane Times