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Greater Brisbane in lockdown amid fears of UK mutant virus spreading


Greater Brisbane residents are going into a three-day lockdown from tonight as health authorities scramble to contain the spread of the highly-contagious UK strain of coronavirus.

From 6pm tonight until 6pm Monday, residents in the local government areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Moreton Bay, Logan and Redlands can only leave home for essential shopping, work (if they can't from home), exercise in their local area or to provide healthcare.

Wearing a mask is also mandatory, and people with symptoms are still being told to get tested immediately.

Anyone else who has been to Greater Brisbane since January 2 is also being asked to isolate for three days - no matter where they are in the state at the moment.

Funerals will be limited to 20 people, weddings limited to 10 people, and weekend sport will be cancelled.

Cleaner infected

The lockdown comes after a casual cleaner at a Brisbane hotel quarantine site was infected with the more contagious strain of COVID-19, which originated from the United Kingdom.

One in 50 people in England have coronavirus. In mid-December, two thirds of the cases in London had the new variant, which is 70 per cent more infectious than the first.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says "going hard and going early" is imperative to give Queensland Health officials time to track the cleaner's movements across the city.

"We know that this UK strain is highly infectious, it is 70 per cent more infectious," Ms Palaszczuk says.

"Think of it as a long weekend at home.

"If we do not do this now, it could end up being a 30-day lockdown."

Contact tracing underway

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young says intense contract tracing is underway.

"We need to find every single case now, we need to find every person who might have had contact with that lady now.

"Until we have found all those people, we can't relax."

Queensland recorded nine new COVID-19 cases in hotel quarantine overnight, prompting the Premier to declare Greater Brisbane a COVID hotspot.

LISTEN: Annastacia Palaszczuk explains why the 3-day lockdown is so important, and what people can and can't do: