Coronavirus: Brisbane put in three-day lockdown as COVID-19 cluster grows

Greater Brisbane will be placed in lockdown for three days, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced.

The move comes after four new locally acquired COVID-19 cases were detected in the region on Monday, prompting fears of a fresh outbreak.

Two of those cases are linked to a cluster sparked by a landscaper who tested positive for the UK strain of coronavirus on Thursday, and the other two are of an unknown origin. Six other cases from overseas were also recorded.

Brisbane's lockdown will start at 5pm on Monday evening (local time), and will run until the same time on Thursday. Masks will be mandatory over that 72-hour period.

Schools in the area will close, and people will only be allowed to leave their homes to buy groceries, exercise, do essential work or receive medical care.

"This is the UK strain. It is highly infectious," Palaszczuk said at a news conference on Monday morning.

"We need to do this now to avoid a longer lockdown... This will also enable our health authorities to get on top of the contact-tracing. This is a huge job now that we have to do. I know this will mean some disruption to people's lives, but we've done this before."

"I didn't sleep last night. I'm very worried, I'm very concerned... But if everyone does the right thing, we'll get through it."

The cluster that's prompted renewed fears of a COVID-19 outbreak has now grown to seven people with the addition of two new cases on Monday.

Of the other two local cases, both of which are still under investigation, one is believed to be a nurse working at the COVID-19 ward at the city's Princess Alexandra Hospital.

The renewed COVID-19 fears come at a terrible time for Australia and New Zealand, who formally committed to a trans-Tasman travel bubble last week. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will make an announcement on quarantine-free travel between the two countries on April 6.

The new cases in Brisbane are exactly the kind of outbreak that has hindered a trans-Tasman bubble opening in the past.

But data obtained by Newshub reveals that over the nine months to January, just three of the 23,000 people who arrived in New Zealand from Australia had COVID-19.

On Sunday, epidemiologist and Otago University Professor Michael Baker said our bubble could become the model for countries wanting to open up to the rest of the world.

He says there would be huge benefits in opening up to low-risk, green zone countries.

"A country like New Zealand could start to benchmark its approaches to border management with the eight states and territories in Australia and look at best practice across all of these jurisdictions."