Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital was plunged into lockdown overnight after a doctor tested positive for what could be the more deadly UK strain of COVID-19.

The Courier-Mail understands genomic testing is now under way to confirm the variant the doctor has contracted as authorities scramble to identify exposure sites.

The doctor had treated a patient with the UK variant, which a British study published this week revealed is 30-100 per cent more deadly.

It comes as Queensland recently began its rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine aimed at protecting frontline staff.

But this month it was revealed the state had administered just 22 per cent of its allocated doses in the first week, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk defending the pace of the rollout.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young is expected to comment on the outbreak on Saturday.

The doctor is believed to have been in the community while infectious on Thursday after having been in contact with coronavirus-positive patients early on Wednesday.

It is understood the doctor presented for testing on Friday after developing symptoms and returned a positive result about 4.30pm.

As part of the lockdown, the hospital will enforce mandatory masks for patients and doctors, ban all non-essential visits and postpone all non-urgent outpatient bookings and elective surgery.

An email to staff confirmed the lockdown at "moderate risk".

"As you may have heard, a positive case with unknown origin has been detected in the Metro South Health catchment," the email said. "The case is a medical officer at the Princess Alexandra Hospital."

The PA Hospital in Brisbane. Picture: AAP/Robert Shakespeare
The PA Hospital in Brisbane. Picture: AAP/Robert Shakespeare

The staff note urged anyone with symptoms to stay home and get tested.

Queensland Health said contact tracing was under way and exposure sites would likely be released today.

"All patients, staff and families this person interacted with are being identified and appropriate actions are being taken," a statement said. "The hospital is actively working to ensure the safety of staff and patients on campus while contact tracing is undertaken."

While the emergency department will remain open, those able to go to another hospital or GP should do so.

It follows the lifting of a number of restrictions early this morning, which includes 100 people now able to gather in homes and outdoor private gatherings hosting up to 500 people, after 60 consecutive days without a local case.

Brisbane was put into a three-day snap lockdown in January in an effort to contain the UK strain after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel tested positive and was in the community for five days.

This is the first local transmission case since January 11.

There were 400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine administered at the hospital on Friday.

The lockdown comes after health authorities issued an urgent alert for 62 suburbs in Queensland after detecting new positive coronavirus traces in wastewater.

Originally published as PA Hospital locked down as doctor tests positive to COVID-19



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