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Coronavirus infected woman flies from Brisbane to Japan via Sydney before testing positive

An urgent warning has been issued after a woman flew from Brisbane to Sydney before later testing positive to coronavirus after arriving in Japan.

Japanese authorities contacted Queensland Health on Wednesday to confirm the woman returned a positive reading, despite being asymptomatic when she arrived.

She travelled on Virgin flight VA962 and visited The Jam Pantry cafe in Greenslopes, Brisbane the day before her August 17 flight. 

Six people who she came into contact with have been instructed to self-isolate as authorities scramble to trace any other potential contacts. 

The woman first arrived in Sydney in mid-July and was quarantined for two weeks in mandatory hotel isolation as per federal rules for returned international travellers.

During her stay in isolation, the woman tested negative to COVID-19 twice, sparking concerns the testing kits could be delivering false results.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young told the public on Wednesday night contact tracing was underway.

She said appropriate action and hygiene precautions had been undertaken at all necessary locations. 

‘The woman arrived in Australia in mid-July and was in hotel quarantine in Sydney for two weeks prior to coming to Brisbane. While in quarantine, she returned two negative test results,’ Dr Young said.

‘Because she quarantined in Sydney and travelled straight to Brisbane from hotel quarantine, she could go about her normal life in Brisbane.

‘However, on her arrival to Japan on 18 August, she was asymptomatic but returned a positive COVID-19 result.’

Queensland authorities are working alongside Japanese contact tracers to determine how the woman may have contracted the virus, and when. 

‘We have been in touch with six close contacts in Brisbane identified by the woman. These people have been tested and are now in quarantine,’ Dr Young said.

Any person who was on the same flight as the woman has been urged to monitor their health and keep alert for COVID-19 symptoms.

People are urged to seek immediate testing if symptoms occur.  

‘Any individuals who dined in at The Jam Pantry café at Greenslopes on Sunday, 16 August, 2020 from 9.45am to 11am will be contacted by the local Public Health Unit,’ Queensland Health said in a statement.

‘Anyone else who dined at the café outside these hours on that day should come forward for testing if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms.’

A spokesman for the Jam Pantry Cafe released a statement citing ‘these crazy times’ after the announcement the infected woman dined there.

‘We are all in this together in these crazy times… The most important priority to us is the health and safety of our staff and patrons.’

The cafe is closed on Thursday for a deep clean, and all staff will be tested for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure. 

‘We will also be ensuring that our staff are safe and healthy before returning back to work,’ the statement read.

Queensland has only recorded 1,092 cases since the pandemic began and there are only six active cases in the state.

One new case was diagnosed on Wednesday – a man in his 40s currently in hotel quarantine after returning from Papua New Guinea.

‘We have absolutely no concerns about that case,’ Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. 

There has been ‘no evidence’ of community transmission in the Sunshine State for 30 days, she previously revealed.

There was a health scare back in July after three girls lied on their border passes to enter Queensland after travelling to coronavirus-stricken Victoria.

Upon returning to Queensland, two of the young women tested positive for coronavirus.

Contact tracing linked them to at least 11 venues, sparking fears the women may have single-handedly started a second wave of COVID-19 in the state. 

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