COVID-19: Airlines must work faster to find Rocky passengers
All bar one of the Central Queensland coronavirus cases were people who flew in from overseas but the airlines didn't identify them quickly enough, said the Member for Keppel, Brittany Lauga.
Domestic airlines must work urgently to hand over passenger manifests following the diagnosis of a passenger with COVID-19, she said on Thursday.
Ms Lauga said there was a COVID-19 diagnosis of a passenger on a March 24 flight into Rockhampton, but the airlines haven't provided sufficient information for Queensland Health contact tracers to contact people potentially at risk of transmission of the virus on that flight.
Most cases transferred from an international flight to a domestic service back to Rockhampton.
"This information, if provided quickly by the airlines to Queensland Health contact tracers, helps limit the spread of this virus in our community," she said.
"Delays in the provision of this information could result in a delay in people self-isolating because they may have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.
"I call on the airlines to give their manifests to Queensland Health on the same date as the diagnosis to enable the tracers to contact other passengers.
"These airlines need to get their act together to help contain the spread of the virus."
Ms Lauga said there could be scores of other flights with similar circumstances, and the airlines need to be part of the national solution.
"These airlines are legally obliged to give up their manifests.
"This is now the third flight where the public has been asked to come forward through the media because of a lack of information from the airlines," Ms Lauga said
A Virgin Australia spokesperson said the Queensland Health Department has not raised any concerns with Virgin Australia regarding this process.
"Virgin Australia has a comprehensive process in place to provide passenger information to the federal (National Incident Room) and state health departments with a matter of urgency when requested by them directly," the spokesperson said.
"The state health department COVID-19 contact tracing groups are able to contact Virgin Australia directly via a dedicated email address which is monitored seven days a week.
"Once contacted by the relevant department with the required details and a request for a manifest, we have a process in place to provide this information within 24 hours. This information is also provided to the National Incident Room for awareness."
A Qantas spokesman said their Qantas Medical Team was in contact with every state and territory health department to ensure there are clear lines of communication when positive cases are identified.
"Any requests for flight information are actioned but we also require accurate information to help us quickly identify particular services," the spokesperson said.
"It is in the interests of all airlines to undertake the tracing and produce timely manifest requests as we also have an obligation to ensure our crew are appropriately contacted and identify if they may also have been a close contact and advise them to self-isolate as well.
"A member of the Qantas Medical Team was placed in the National Incident Control Room to establish direct lines of communication and ensure we were able to respond to all health jurisdictions across the county."