People wearing a face masks to protecting themself because of epidemic in China. Selective Focus. Concept of coronavirus quarantine.
People wearing a face masks to protecting themself because of epidemic in China. Selective Focus. Concept of coronavirus quarantine.

Warwick's first coronavirus case cops community backlash

"WE'LL be lucky to survive this."

The mental and financial toll of coronavirus is far greater than the physical, according to owners of Rose City Meats, Peter and Michelle Wright.

Peter became the first publicly confirmed case of COVID-19 in Warwick after the couple returned from a 50th birthday dinner at a Noosa restaurant last week.

The news comes as Queensland records its largest single-day jump in new coronavirus cases, rising from 259 to 316.

"I just can't believe it," Michelle said.

"The phones have been calling all weekend and the response has just been awful.

"We would never deliberately hurt anybody, I would never even hurt a fly."

Michelle sobbed as she described the endless stream of "very nasty" phone calls and messages, many of which accused the couple of "bringing the virus to Warwick".

"We've copped a real barrage," Peter said.

"But we had no control over it, we were exposed through no fault of mine, it's just how it is.

"The hysteria needs to be put to bed."

The pair completely self-isolated since their first contact with Queensland Health, with Peter on one side of the house and Michelle on the other.

Peter describes his symptoms as very mild, much like the common cold.

"If I wasn't contacted, it wouldn't have crossed my mind that it could be coronavirus," Peter said.

"There was a bit of a sniffily nose and a headache one morning, but I took two panadol and that was it.

Peter said he experienced some aches and pains but attributed this to long hours working at the butcher shop, trying to meet the increased demand of panicked customers.

"But I never had a sore throat, and I never had a fever," he said.

The mild symptoms made it difficult for Peter to receive a test, despite his close contact with a confirmed case.

"Even after they told me I was in contact with another case, it was a hard interview process," he said.

"It probably took around 15 minutes of questioning to become qualified."

Michelle is yet to exhibit any symptoms, but won't know if she's a carrier until her test results return today.

Their butcher shop, located in the Rose City Shoppingworld in Warwick, has shut for a minimum of two weeks as its 20 employees are forced into isolation.

"We weren't ordered to close, but I wanted to make sure all my staff were isolated and properly cared for at home," he said.

"None of them are showing symptoms at the moment and if they get through the first 24 hours at home without signs of the virus there's a good chance nobody could have gotten it from my staff.

"I just want to keep in mind the best interests of everybody."

The couple's unfortunate experience highlights the need for increased social distancing measures, which prompted the federal government to shut down cafes, restaurants and bars from noon today.

"People should be more compassionate," he said.

"We were at a function and at that point in time, there were very limited cases in Queensland.

"It really heightens how diligent you need to be about going no contact."