A 44-year-old woman and her husband have tested positive in Queensland after driving from Victoria through NSW to the Sunshine Coast.
There is now a raft of exposure sites across regional NSW and Queensland, sparking concerns Melbourne’s outbreak could spread.
Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton said there was anxiety in his electorate after the couple stopped in Moree, Dubbo and other towns.
“People in my part of the world are very angry at the moment as to what’s happened, the disruption it’s causing them,” he told Sky News.
“It’s a stark reminder how we still are really in the middle of this pandemic. We need to treat the health advice and the orders that are given very, very seriously.”
Victoria recorded four new cases all from the same home on Thursday with authorities working to investigate the source of the infections.
Melbourne remains on track for its harsh lockdown to ease from midnight but restrictions on travel and gatherings will remain.
Queensland chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners Bruce Willett said there was disappointment and anger about the couple’s actions.
“People’s lives are at stake and also people’s livelihoods with shutdowns,” he told the Nine Network.
Infectious diseases expert Paul Griffin said complacency was a risk with people not always on their toes about stopping the virus.
“This example as well as many others in recent times shows us we can’t take our foot off the pedal,” he told Nine.
Mr Coulton warned there could be serious consequences of an outbreak in regional Australia.
“We’ve got good facilities but if we got large numbers, we don’t have the level of intensive care beds and respiration,” he said.
He said country people were stepping up to be vaccinated as supply reached regional areas.
There were more than 140,000 doses administered nationally over the past 24 hours taking the total past 5.3 million.
But the Commonwealth’s daily data does not outline how many people have been fully vaccinated with the latest figure at 613,000 earlier in the week.
ATAGI, which advises the federal government on vaccines, has given the green light for pregnant women to receive the Pfizer jab.
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