Lockdown for Townsville, SEQ ahead of Supercars event

Townsville’s Reid Park Street Circuit in 2020

Townsville and South East Queensland will go into a three-day lockdown from tonight, lasting to within a week of Supercars’ event in the North Queensland city.

As it stands, the NTI Townsville 500 is unaffected, although the decision sets up another very nervous wait for the Repco Supercars Championship.

The lockdown is currently set to end on Friday night at 18:00 (local time/AEST), while the opening day of track activity is supposed to be Friday week (July 9).

The reason for the geographic extent of the lockdown is a positive case who has travelled between her home in the Brisbane suburb of Sandgate and Townsville.

Encouragingly for Supercars, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, in announcing the measure, expressed her hope that it will prevent a longer lockdown.

CLICK HERE to read Supercars’ response

“This leaves us with no option,” she declared after outlining the circumstances of the Townsville case.

“I foreshadowed yesterday that if we’ve got these multiple issues happening across the South East; and now some risk exposure in Townsville – regional Queensland – we’ve got that outbreak, that risk linked to the Portuguese restaurant the other day; we’ve got the flight attendant from Sydney who came up on multiple flights – there’s a lot of contact tracing happening there.

“So, the risk is real, we need to act quickly, we need to go hard, we need to go fast.

“I want to just say to everyone, I know we’re in the middle of school holidays, and I know people have made plans, but we’ve just got to do this and we’ve got to do this for three days, so there’ll be a lockdown for three days, and I don’t want it to be 30 days, so we just have to do this.

“So, from 6pm tonight, until 6pm on Friday, South East Queensland, Townsville City, Palm Island, and Magnetic Island, will go into lockdown.”

South East Queensland includes Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and thus the three Queensland-based Supercars Championship teams – Triple Eight Race Engineering, Dick Johnson Racing, and Matt Stone Racing – as well as Team Sydney’s alternate facility, namely Tekno Autosports.

It is also the base for drivers from several more teams, namely Chaz Mostert (Walkinshaw Andretti United), Tim Slade (Blanchard Racing Team), James Courtney (Tickford Racing), Will Brown and Brodie Kostecki (Erebus Motorsport), and Fabian Coulthard (Team Sydney).

For the other Supercars Championship teams and drivers, there is presently free return to New South Wales and Victoria from Queensland.

On the specifics of the case, Premier Palaszczuk explained: “There is a young woman, a 19-year-old casual clerical worker from the Prince Charles Hospital.

“Now, she lives at Sandgate and she has visited a Woolies [supermarket] and a gym… She works as a receptionist outside the COVID ward, she is a casual worker.

“She has travelled with her family between her home in Sandgate to Magnetic Island in Townsville at the end of last week. She also attended the Sunday markets in Townsville.

“She was tested yesterday and the positive result has come through.”

It is unknown what strain of COVID-19 the woman has caught, but it has been confirmed that she was not vaccinated, contrary to health directives.

Both Triple Eight and MSR had already postponed testing at Queensland Raceway tomorrow, before the lockdown announcement.

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