Promising news on Townsville lockdown

The second Townsville Supercars event of 2020

There is promising news on the lockdown which has hit Townsville just a week out from the next scheduled event of the Repco Supercars Championship.

The North Queensland city and South East Queensland last night started a three-day lockdown which is slated to end this Friday night, while Friday week is supposed to be the first day of track activity at the NTI Townsville 500.

Overnight, Queensland recorded four new cases of COVID-19, of which one is in hotel quarantine and the other three are close contacts of existing cases.

According to the Sunshine State’s Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, those cases are therefore “low-risk”.

“Today I can report some good news,” she announced.

“We have four new cases; one person from overseas hotel quarantine, there are three locally acquired and close contacts of existing cases, so we are considering these low-risk, so this is very good news.

“But it does give our health officials the time that they need to do the contact tracing, which is wonderful news.

“So, the first one is the brother of the Prince Charles case, that casual worker … one is a close contact of the Portuguese restaurant cluster who was already in quarantine; and the third one is a close contact of the Virgin crew member, and is also in quarantine, so that is also very good news.”

Speedcafe.com understands that teams were reassured by Supercars yesterday that the build of the Reid Park Street Circuit was continuing, despite the lockdown.

Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young also gave encouraging news in this morning’s update regarding Townsville specifically.

Despite her “concern” that the state’s 42 active cases are the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, she advised that the Prince Charles worker who travelled north to Townsville was in her car for much of the trip.

“I have some good news about Townsville,” declared Dr Young.

“I was concerned about that ferry terminal because of the linkages between Palm Island and Magnetic Island [just off Townsville] – you need to go through that same ferry terminal – but the family who went up from Brisbane to Magnetic Island went in a car and they were in a car when they went across to Magnetic Island.

“They didn’t go out and about in that terminal, which significantly reduces the risk for those people from Palm Island.

“It doesn’t remove it, because we know that the people from Palm Island frequently come into Townsville and they may have gone to one of the venues in Townsville … but I thought it might be reassuring for those people in Palm Island because I know they were quite concerned about the terminal.”

South East Queensland (SEQ) is the home of Triple Eight Race Engineering, Dick Johnson Racing, and Matt Stone Racing, the former of which postponed the first test day for its Supercheap Auto-backed wildcard before the lockdown announcement.

Furthermore, Team Sydney has a secondary base at Tekno Autosports’ Gold Coast facility and key personnel, including one of its drivers in Fabian Coulthard, live there.

SEQ is also the place of residence for several drivers from non-Queensland teams, namely Chaz Mostert (Walkinshaw Andretti United), Tim Slade (Blanchard Racing Team), James Courtney (Tickford Racing), Brodie Kostecki (Erebus Motorsport), and Fabian Coulthard (Team Sydney).

Will Brown (Erebus Motorsport) also lives in the Sunshine State, although in the Toowoomba local government area which is beyond the lockdown zone.

The rest of the championship – Victorian-based teams WAU, BRT, Tickford, Kelly Grove Racing, Erebus, and Team 18, plus Albury’s Brad Jones Racing – are also affected by the Queensland situation.

New restrictions took effect this morning in Victoria and also New South Wales and, as it stands, residents returning to those states face currently face a fortnight of self-quarantine upon doing so.

The Townsville 500, which takes place from July 9-11, is set to be supported by the Dunlop Super2 Series (including Super3), Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia, the Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia 86 Series, and Boost Mobile Stadium Super Trucks.

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