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Queensland braces for more cases with lockdowns the 'only option' for Delta

Queensland is bracing for more COVID-19 cases as health authorities work to determine if an infection in North Queensland poses a risk to the community.

The cluster based in Brisbane's west has risen to 47 cases, with 16 new infections announced on Tuesday.

A 17th case was reported in North Queensland on Tuesday afternoon, with contact tracing locations announced in Cairns, Trinity Beach and Yorkey's Knob. A Qantas flight from Brisbane to Cairns on Thursday morning has also been listed.

The quick spreading Delta has seen Prime Minister Scott Morrison changing tune from lauding NSW's insistence on staying open and managing COVID-19 with testing and tracing to saying hard and fast lockdowns were the order of the day.

"It is indeed true that for a very long period of time in NSW, they were able to manage cases as they arose by not having to go into lengthy and extraordinary lockdowns," Mr Morrison said in Question Time.

"But the virus writes the rules."

With Greater Sydney and surrounds approaching six weeks of lockdown and daily infections remaining stubbornly high, the NSW government is now looking to vaccination as a way out of the outbreak.

Morrison and state and territory leaders have set a vaccination rate target of 80 per cent before harsh restrictions will be a thing of the past.

But scientists and political leaders are at odds as to how this can be achieved.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said he wanted people at their local bowling club to be asking each other: "Have you got your $300, have you been vaccinated?"

But the incentives being considered by the government were things like allowing vaccinated people to travel more easily.

Leading epidemiologist Peter Collignon said the cash payments - estimated to cost $6 billion - were a "bad idea".

"Currently, judging by long vaccine lines, not enough vaccine is the main issue, not hesitancy," he said.

"Plus this may make some needlessly defer getting vaccinated, because they may think if they defer for a few months, they're more likely get $300."

In Olympics news, American gymnastics star Simone Biles won her seventh Olympic medal - a remarkable return to centre stage after withdrawing early in the women's team final last week, citing a desire to protect her mental health.

Biles took bronze in the women's beam.

When Indonesian badminton gold medallists Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu return home from Tokyo they have been promised five cows, a meatball restaurant, and a new house.

A reward from their badminton-crazy country.

Want to know which Aussies are in action today? Check out the list here.

And in entertainment news, global pop start Billie Eilish has returned with her second album. Read the review here.

This story Queensland braces for more cases with lockdowns the 'only option' for dealing with Delta first appeared on The Canberra Times.