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Nightmare As 50th Birthday Leads To Nearly 30 Coronavirus Cases

A birthday bash at a popular restaurant on the Sunshine Coast has caused a surge in COVID-19 cases.

On March 14, a group of people gathered for a private 50th birthday lunch at Sails restaurant in Noosa.

Now, at least 24 of them, as well as four staff members at the restaurant, have tested positive for the virus, according to Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington.

“This was a private 50th birthday party, of which 24 people have now tested positive of those who attended that party at Sails restaurant," Wellington said.

He said four of those attendees live on the Sunshine Coast, but the rest have "dispersed elsewhere in Queensland."

“Health authorities are tracing all those participants and they say there is a low risk to the community generally as a result of that event," he said.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the "cluster" of people have also moved interstate.

According to Queensland Health, the four wait staff continued to work, unaware they were also infected.

Sails Restaurant in Noosa has become the centre of a COVID-19 outbreak. Image: Google Maps

It prompted Queensland Health to issue a public alert for anyone who attended the venue last Wednesday or Thursday to monitor their health for symptoms.

Health Minister Stephen Miles said the restaurant had followed all of the department's requests, but that getting in touch with all attendees had proved difficult.

"That's why we're making this public alert public," he said.

"Our public health officials will be working through what information is available. Obviously they'll have access to reservation lists, credit card transactions, and they'll use that to contact people."

Palaszczuk said the cluster of cases showed how easily the virus can spread.

"It is a very clear signal to everyone that this is now not the time to socialise, it is the time to keep your distance," she said.

This is a very clear example of what not to do.

"The time for partying will be when we get through this coronavirus."

The premier spoke of another case where a man who had been told to self-isolate collected his elderly father and drove around their neighbourhood.

He has since tested positive.

As of Wednesday, Queensland has had 443 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with tracing underway for the 46 new cases.

A 68-year-old man from the state's Darling Downs has become the ninth person in Australia to die from the virus.

Queensland Health  confirmed the man's death on Wednesday.

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In a statement, the department said the man had a "serious underlying medical condition before contracting the virus."

"Queensland Health offers its sincere condolences to his family," it said.

"The man's family remain in isolation as close contacts."

The rise in cases has prompted the premier to warn of stricter lockdown measures in some parts of the state.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Image: AAP

"What we might see in the future is we may see some areas of our state going into more of a lock down than other parts," Palaszczuk flagged on Wednesday.

"I want everyone to please be patient and, as soon as we get that advice, we will give that advice to you, I promise to you."

With AAP.