A hotel quarantine worker in Brisbane has been diagnosed with the mutant UK strain of coronavirus, 7NEWS understands.
The variant, which experts believe is up to 70 per cent more virulent than the base strain, has so far only been reported in returned travellers.
This would be the first time it has been reported amongst the community.
The woman was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Wednesday night after reporting symptoms earlier in the day.
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said urgent genome sequencing was being conducted to determine whether it was the additionally contagious UK strain.
7NEWS understands that late on Thursday afternoon, testing determined that it was.
It’s also believed QLD Health will move to cancel all visits to hospitals, aged care and disability care to prevent the virus entering high-risk locations.
Health authorities are now scrambling to ensure the virus doesn’t spread.
The cleaner, who worked at the Grand Chancellor Hotel and lived in Alegester, was potentially infectious for five days.
Southside suburbs have subsequently been placed on high alert.
“Anyone with any symptoms, anywhere in Brisbane, it is really critical that you come forward and get tested,” Young said.
Additional testing sites
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said additional testing sites were being implemented to cope with expected demand.
Health authorities have warned the woman visited a number of locations while potentially infectious.
She caught a train from Altandi Station to Roma Street Station at 7am on January 2, then returned on the 4pm service the same day.
She also visited Woolworths at the Calamvale Central Shopping Centre from 11am to 12pm on Sunday 3 January.
Other locations include Coles in Sunnybank Hills for 30 minutes from 7.30am on Tuesday 5 January, and a newsagent at Sunnybank Hills Shopping Town from 8-8.15am on the same day.
Work is underway to identify her close contacts.
A second case recorded in Queensland on Thursday was that of a child who tested positive in hotel quarantine after arriving from overseas.
This is a developing story. More to come.