- Remnants of COVID-19 have been found in a closed ward of Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital despite a deep clean of the area just last week
- The ward was the source of Queensland's latest outbreak in late March, when a doctor and nurse contracted the virus while treating a returned traveller
- A deep clean was carried out by contractors, but remnants of the virus still linger in the ward
- Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it's unlikely the remnants of the virus are contagious, but health authorities are seeking more information
- The news comes a day before Queensland coronavirus restrictions are slated to lift following the recent outbreak
- From Thursday morning, Queensland residents will no longer need to wear masks indoors, will once more be able to stand and dance in hospitality venues, and can host up to 100 people in their homes, among other rule changes
Remnants of COVID-19 have been found in a closed ward of Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital despite a deep clean of the area just last week.
The ward was the source of Queensland's latest coronavirus outbreak after a nurse and doctor contracted the virus in late March while treating a returned overseas traveller.
The result was a three-day snap lockdown in the state followed by two weeks of restrictions, including mandatory masks in public indoor spaces, no standing at food and beverage establishments, and limits on household gatherings to 30 people, among other rules.
However, Queensland authorities revealed today that remnants of COVID-19 still linger in that hospital ward two weeks later, even after a deep clean was carried out by contractors engaged by the Department of Housing and Public Works last week.
As such, the ward remains closed, and a new round of cleaning will begin today.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk played down the situation, saying it's unlikely the virus was contagious, though health authorities are seeking more information.
"It is not unusual for traces to be found that are not contagious," she said.
"My understanding is that it's not contagious after a period of time."
She said health experts will look at the issue and report back about it, with Health Minister Yvette D'Ath expected to provide more details later today.
The news of the lingering virus traces comes a day before Queensland restrictions are slated to ease.
From 6:00 am local time on Thursday, just about all COVID-19 restrictions will lift in the state.
Masks will no longer be mandatory anywhere except for at airports and on planes, though Queensland authorities are still encouraging people to carry a mask with them and wear it in situations where reasonable social distancing is not possible.
While Queenslanders will still be required to maintain two square metres between each other at hospitality venues, standing and dancing are once more permitted.
Up to 100 people will be able to gather in private homes, while weddings and funerals can host up to 200 guests.
There will be no restrictions outdoors with the exception of music festival events, which will need to have a strong COVID-safe plan to go ahead.
Visitors will once more be allowed into aged care homes, hospitals, and prisons, though temperature checks and social distancing rules will stay in place.
Queensland recorded two new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, but both cases were returned travellers from Papua New Guinea and are in quarantine.