Tag: Ms Palaszczuk

Want to come home to Queensland? You’ll need a special permit

Brisbane 4000

The Queensland Government is implementing strict new coronavirus rules for Queenslanders returning home from interstate.

Key points:

  • Anyone wanting to go into Queensland will require a permit, including residents
  • Drivers with Queensland licence plates will no longer be freely allowed to enter
  • Annastacia Palaszczuk says border control measures could be toughened further

From tomorrow night, anyone returning home will need a special permit to cross back into Queensland.

Anyone who has visited a virus hotspot like Sydney will need to quarantine for 14 days upon returning home.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her message to Queensland residents was “now is not the time to go into New South Wales”, and warned border controls could get even tougher.

“We are not ruling out further measures into the future, so you do not want to get caught across the border,” she said.

“Everyone please stay in your state.”


The new permit requirements will be in force from Friday night. (AAP: Dave Hunt)

Coronavirus update: Follow the latest news in our daily wrap.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said the change meant drivers with Queensland licence plates would no longer be waved through at the border.

“No one is immune to these stricter border controls… this is about making sure we’re all keeping safe and we’re all staying within our state and staying at home unless we’re going out for essential purposes,” he said.

Ms Palaszczuk added: “You’re not supposed to be going on a holiday into NSW. What we’re saying to Queenslanders is, do the right thing, and stay in Queensland.”


The new measures place even tougher restrictions on those wanting to cross into Queensland. (ABC Gold Coast: Dominic Cansdale)

This morning Ms Palaszczuk tweeted the latest coronavirus figures from Queensland Health, which showed 10 new cases overnight, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 953 — 576 of them current.

Qld COVID-19 snapshot

  • Confirmed cases so far: 987
  • Deaths: 5
  • Patients tested: 72,313

Latest information from Queensland Health.

Queensland Health director-general John Wakefield said having only 10 new cases was a “tremendous result” for the state, and a further indication that the rate of new infections was slowing.

He said that came despite “significantly increasing our testing, over 3,000 patients yesterday” to include people in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Cairns who showed symptoms but were previously not being tested because they had not been overseas recently or been in contact with confirmed cases.

Dr Wakefield thanked frontline healthcare workers and support staff including cleaners, food and services staff.

“Whilst we all retreat from COVID into our homes, those people go out into that environment to care for us and to care for our loved ones,” he said.

Queensland police said as of midnight Wednesday, officers had issued 239 fines for people breaching public health directions.

Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak

They had also refused entry to 947 vehicles at state borders, and directed 2,638 people re-entering Queensland into quarantine.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said too many people were still “recklessly and blatantly disregarding” coronavirus rules.

She said most people had been compliant but it was proving extraordinarily difficult to control the number of people using Gold Coast beaches.

“Last weekend we had so many people descend onto the Gold Coast that those social distancing measures were so extraordinarily difficult to enforce, people were still sunbaking, congregating, and this is what we want to avoid,” she said.

“What we’re saying is please can you just stay home for these next few weeks. You can still get out and do your exercise, but do it locally.

“Our strategy has always been communication, compassion and then ultimately compliance, and I think the messaging is getting across. People are phoning in and genuinely complaining about people because they’re concerned when people are breaching those rules.”

Five Queenslanders have died from COVID-19 and 372 have recovered.

Queensland has done 66,766 tests, more than any Australian state except NSW.

Gladstone region to get dedicated COVID-19 hospital

Meanwhile, Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said the acquisition of the Gladstone Mater Misericordiae Hospital would further enhance the capability of the local area’s public health response to COVID-19.

“We have funds set aside to purchase the Gladstone Mater and add it to the central Queensland Hospital and Health Service’s capacity,” Mr Miles said.

“That will, during a COVID-19 outbreak, allow us to have a dedicated COVID ward of 34 beds as well as a dedicated COVID intensive care unit of between four and 12 beds.

“At the end of the pandemic, we will complete a purchase of the hospital, add it to the stock of the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service and we are working through a model, which will allow private providers to continue to operate from that hospital.”

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said it would be “absolutely superb” as a COVID-19 hospital for when it would be needed.

“It’s got everything that could be needed — in fact, if I designed the facility and built it for that purpose, it couldn’t have been better,” Dr Young said.

Mercy Health and Aged Care, which currently operates the Gladstone hospital, last year reduced its operating hours after closing the hospital’s maternity ward in 2018.


The Queensland Government is purchasing the private Gladstone Mater Misericordiae Hospital. (ABC News: Jemima Burt)

Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher said the city’s residents could be assured health services in the area would “get better and better”.

“Not only can we help Gladstone get through this pandemic — if and when it comes — but we can also afterwards take it under the wing of Central Queensland Health and Hospital Service and turn it into a co-shared facility,” he said.

“Certainly tough times for the Gladstone region, but this is a reason for us to have a big cheer and a big smile without any hugs today in Gladstone.”

Rent assistance measures

Residential and commercial property owners in Queensland are also set to be given tax relief in order to pass on savings to struggling tenants.

Owners will be given a three-month land tax refund, followed by a three-month deferral — if their tenants are struggling from economic hardship.

It also means tenants cannot be evicted during the next six months, if they can’t pay their rent due to the impact of the pandemic.

Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad said the State Government had allocated $400 million for the measures.

“It includes every land owner — so mum and dads that have a property and that is the source of their revenue — if they are taxed according to our land tax regime, they will be eligible for a refund and they will be eligible for a deferral,” she said.

Ms Trad said the Office of State Revenue [OSR] would be able to take applications from next week.

“There will be the capacity to hop online and have a look already,” she said.

“But in terms of that one-on-one engagement, from next Tuesday, as soon as Easter is over … the Office of State Revenue will be up and running and taking enquiries and progressing registrations and applications.”

Who should present to COVID-19 clinics?

  • People with a fever (or history of fever) or acute respiratory symptoms, AND, in the last 14 days:
  • they were a close contact or a household contact of a confirmed case, OR
  • they had been overseas, including on a cruise

Testing is also possible for people who have a fever (or history of fever) or acute respiratory symptoms, AND:

Queensland Health has set up testing and fever clinics for people who may be infected with COVID-19.
Patients who are tested should remain isolated at home until they receive their test results.
For more information about coronavirus call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or go to the Queensland Health website

Video: Professor Paul Young discusses the search for a coronavirus vaccine


Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news

Queensland to impose border controls after recording highest daily coronavirus tally

Brisbane 4000

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will impose border controls that include travellers being placed in quarantine for two weeks after the state recorded 60 new coronavirus cases in the last day.

Key points:

  • There are now more than 300 COVID-19 cases in Queensland
  • The teachers’ union is threatening strike action if schools are not closed
  • Queensland cabinet has voted to begin border control measures

The Queensland Government will close the state’s borders beginning midnight Wednesday.

The initial stage of the restriction will force anyone entering Queensland to quarantine themselves for 14 days after arrival.

Authorities will convene in the coming days to establish how road-based restrictions can later be placed along the state’s borders.

But Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young said it would be “business as usual” for those commuting between northern New South Wales and Queensland on a daily basis, even after the border closures were in place.

“We have a very close relationship with northern New South Wales — a lot of people live there and work in Queensland and vice versa,” Dr Young said.

“People in northern New South Wales come to Brisbane and the Gold Coast for everything … healthcare, shopping, everything.”

Coronavirus update: Follow all the latest news in our daily wrap

Dr Young said the border closures were in place to stop travellers from other capital cities with high community transition rates visiting remote areas of Queensland.

“We do not want people who are currently in Sydney or in Melbourne who have been exposed to go up to the Whitsundays for instance — we’ve got no cases up there,” she said.

“We want to keep the rest of the state free of the virus as long as possible.”

Freight transport will continue as normal, both in and out of the state.

“We need to bring goods from other states into Queensland — that’s important and Queensland goods need to go from our state to other states,” Dr Young said.

“We are a massive food bowl for our nation.”

But Tweed Shire councillor Warren Polglase said people were confused and concerned about the implications.

“The Queensland Government has created a lot of uncertainty and this is not a time for uncertainty,” he said.

“Roughly 20 to 30 per cent of our population goes north to work in Queensland and about 15 to 20 per cent come from Queensland or work in Tweed.

“There’s cross-border [travel] every day for very many various trades and business people and I don’t know how it’s going to work.”

He said two of the Tweed Shire Council’s senior managers and directors lived in Queensland.

“Are they going to be quarantined once they go over and back, or how are we going to handle that?” he said.

“I think the proposal was made on the run in many ways and I think if the police are asked to police this issue I don’t think they know exactly what to do.”

‘Enough’s enough’ says teachers’ union

Ms Palaszczuk also urged people to “stay in your suburb” but remained adamant schools would stay open.

However, Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) president Kevin Bates called on the State Government to close schools by mid-week, saying he could not rule out strike action if negotiations fail.

Mr Bates said the safety of teaching staff was being put at risk.

“Governments are talking about shutting down all of the businesses apart from essential services, and yet there’s still talk about schools remaining open. Those two things are contradictory,” Mr Bates said.

Mr Bates said he appreciated that medical advice suggested it was OK to keep schools open, but said that: “We can’t see how the logic of that plays out.”

“We don’t accept that you have to have social distancing in terms of closing down parks and beaches and other things but you can have 3,000 students at a school and that is OK.

“What we are saying is, enough’s enough.”


Jeannette Young says one patient with COVID-19 is in intensive care. (ABC News)

Ms Palaszczuk urged teachers over the age of 60 or those with an underlying health condition to seek advice from their school principal about working from home.

But Mr Bates said teachers had lost faith in the “ad-hoc” approach.

“The words that we know have been used are ‘sacrificial lamb’, ‘glorified babysitters’ — that’s how they’re feeling,” he said.

Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland state schools would remain open but said parents could keep children home if they wished.

Coronavirus questions answered
Breaking down the latest news and research to understand how the world is living through an epidemic, this is the ABC’s Coronacast.

“Parents have a choice — if they choose not to send their child to school, that can that make that choice,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“But schools will remain open.

“Also, we know that the school holidays are coming up in a couple of weeks’ time. I want to send a clear message to people to stay in your state, and stay in your suburb. There are no school holidays. It is not about packing up the car and going to the beach for a picnic or going for a swim on the beach.”

Dr Young said schools that recorded a positive case of COVID-19 would have to take their own circumstances into account when deciding whether to reopen.

“Every school has got different arrangements, so you can’t just have one process,” Dr Young said.

“Whether or not the school reopens is up to that school.”

Case tally goes past 300

A total of 319 cases have now been recorded across Queensland.

Dr Young said one patient with COVID-19 was being treated in intensive care, and described that person as “unwell”.

“They are in ICU and are ventilated. I don’t have all the specific details,” Dr Young said.

Dr Young said the sharp rise in cases underscored the importance of adhering to social-distancing measures.

Government staffer tests positive

Meanwhile, it has been revealed contact tracing is underway within a busy Government department after a public servant based in an office in the Brisbane CBD tested positive for COVID-19.

Staff within the Department of Housing and Public Works were updated on the situation in an email from department deputy director-general Trish Woolley a week ago.

“We have traced staff members who have been in contact with this staff member and invoked business continuity arrangements in our service delivery network and senior executive team to ensure we continue to manage the implications of COVID-19 on the delivery of essential services,” she said in the email.

Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak

“It is important to remember, that as part of any trace contacting that occurs, we are not looking for people the person may have passed on the street or in a shop, as the risk in these situations is extremely low.

“The same applies for a passing interaction in an office.”

The ABC understands several staff are still working in the office, despite raising health concerns.

Surge in cases ‘justifies’ venue closures, Minister says

The previous highest daily case total for Queensland was last Thursday, when 50 new patients were announced, with another 40 on Friday.

Health Minister Steven Miles said some hospitals in Queensland had begun rescheduling non-urgent surgeries, and urged people to keep donating blood.

“That is the highest single-day figure we’ve had so far, and it justifies the strong action that the Premier and other national leaders have taken overnight to restrict people from accessing large gatherings and events,” Mr Miles said.

Last night, following a meeting with state and territory leaders, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that from midday Monday places like pubs, indoor sporting venues and churches would be closed.

Mr Miles said Queensland Health had conducted 32,000 tests for COVID-19 so far.

What the experts are saying about coronavirus:

Video: Q+A: Coronavirus testing criteria slammed

(ABC News)

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news

‘We’ve got to throw everything we’ve got at it’: Coronavirus vaccine to be fast-tracked in Queensland

Brisbane 4000

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a $17 million package to fast-track a coronavirus vaccine developed in the state.

Key points:

  • The number of Queensland COVID-19 cases has risen to 259 after 38 more people tested positive
  • The state government has announced $17 million in funding to fast-track the development of a vaccine
  • The money is expected to cut the time a vaccine would be available for use by about six months

She said the funding would support the University of Queensland (UQ) as the only Australian organisation and one of six worldwide to be tasked to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

It included:

  • $10 million from the Queensland Government
  • $3 million from the Federal Government
  • $3.5 million from the Paul Ramsay Foundation

“This is now becoming a serious issue here in Queensland and a serious issue here in Australia and we’ve gotta throw everything we’ve got at it, so $10 million today is a great step forward out of a $17 million package,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Queensland is a world leader when it comes to research and the progress that is being made here is very encouraging.”

The money would allow researchers to bring a large-scale manufacture of the coronavirus vaccine forward to run parallel with clinical trials.

Coronavirus update: Follow all the latest news in our daily wrap

Professor Paul Young, head of UQ’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, described the work as a “radical approach”.

“We are living through remarkable times and remarkable times sometimes need radical ideas, and that is what the funding announced today is about.”


Annastacia Palaszczuk warned the media to practise social distancing at Sunday’s press conference on coronavirus. (ABC News)

“The typical timeline for vaccine development has been thrown out the window, with many referring to the possibility of a vaccine in 18 months.

“A vaccine is required even sooner than this.

Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak

“We’re not cutting any corners in ensuring this vaccine is going to be safe and efficacious in humans, we will go through those clinical studies, but we should be ready to deploy as soon as that is done.”

“With this approach we should carve about six months off our timeline.”

Coronavirus questions answered
Breaking down the latest news and research to understand how the world is living through an epidemic, this is the ABC’s Coronacast.

Queensland Innovation Minister Kate Jones said if successful, there could be a coronavirus vaccine available for emergency use among healthcare workers and vulnerable populations in early 2021.

Biotechnology researcher Professor Trent Munro is a team leader on the vaccine project and welcomed the funding.

“We have to be careful in saying there are no guarantees of success. This is going to be technically very, very challenging but this funding lets us push forward in a way that we wouldn’t have dreamed possible just a few weeks ago.”

‘Stay in your village’

The funding announcement came as 38 more people tested positive to coronavirus in the state, bringing the total number of Queensland’s COVID-19 cases to 259.

“We want to contain this virus as long as we can so we can develop a vaccine and ultimately save lives,” Health Minister Steven Miles said.

He said the cases were concentrated in south-east Queensland among those returning from overseas where coronavirus had already spread.

What the experts are saying about coronavirus:

The Premier is urging people not to travel outside their immediate community except for work.

“In the coming weeks and months, I need everyone to stay near your village,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“That means you can support things in your local village, you can shop in your local neighbourhoods, but as much as possible you need to restrict your non-essential travel and stick close to home.

“That’s what we do during cyclones, that’s what we do during floods.

“We all pitch in and help together.”

Library queues in last-minute borrowing rush

Keen readers at Indooroopilly were met with long queues and a 40-minute wait to get into the library.

“I was a bit surprised, I wasn’t expecting to see so many people here,” one woman told the ABC.

“You never see a line at a library.”


One borrower described the queues as “panic-borrowing”. (ABC News: Jess Rendall)

On Saturday, the Brisbane City Council announced it would be closing all 33 of its libraries to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“It’s closed until the end of June, that’s a long time to not be able to come to the library.”

Some locals are making the comparison to panic-buying, which saw Australia’s supermarkets stripped bare of toilet paper and other necessities.

“I think it’s better for books… at least people are looking for knowledge, I’m happy with that.”

“Everyone just wants to read, to do something if Australia goes into lockdown.”

Your questions on coronavirus answered:

Video: Q+A: Coronavirus testing criteria slammed

(ABC News)

External Link:

Ask us your coronavirus questions

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news