Australia

Queensland is set to ease COVID-19 restrictions early amid no new community transmission

Coronavirus restrictions will ease across Queensland on Thursday morning after no new cases of community transmission emerged.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says just two new cases were reported in hotel quarantine on Wednesday after 8246 tests in the previous 24 hours.

She says restrictions introduced after two COVID-19 clusters emerged in Brisbane two weeks ago, originally set to end on Thursday evening, will now end at 6am.

“Queenslanders have done a mighty job and I want to thank everyone, it has not been easy over these last two weeks, I know people have had to wear their masks, but by wearing our mask we’re keeping everyone safe,” the premier told reporters on Wednesday.

“And I’m not going to say we’re not going to have any future cases where we have to wear these masks again, I don’t know the future, but everyone has done a great job.”

Ms Palaszczuk said masks won’t be mandatory from 6am on Thursday, but they are recommended indoors and in places where people can’t socially-distance.

People won’t have to carry masks at all times either, but wearing them will remain mandatory at airports and on planes.

People will be allowed to stand, and dance, at restaurants, pubs and clubs, and all outdoor gatherings will be allowed without any restrictions.

Stadiums, theatres and cinemas can operate at full capacity and gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed at private residences.

Visitors will also be allowed back into hospitals, aged care facilities, disability providers and prisons across Greater Brisbane after being barred since 26 March.

However, Queensland’s second largest hospital will be closed to visitors for longer after traces of coronavirus turned up in testing there, one week after it was deep cleaned.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Ward 5D was shut on 30 March when it was at the centre of two virus clusters involving 23 cases, resulting in the snap three-day lockdown of Greater Brisbane last month.

Metro South Hospital and Health Service says deep cleaning was undertaken by contractors last week, but testing has found the virus is still in Ward 5D.

“Subsequently, testing has shown COVID-19 related virus in Ward 5D, and further cleaning will be occurring of the ward today,” a spokesperson told AAP on Wednesday.

Metro South said engineering consultants were also examining the ward after maintenance reports indicated all isolation rooms were functioning properly.

The premier said 115,025 vaccine doses have been administered in the state and she supported the prime minister’s call for twice weekly national cabinet meetings over the rollout.

Ms Palaszczuk said the last meeting agreed to provide the public with more transparent information.

“What these regular meetings will do is it will put everybody on the same page, so everybody will be getting the same information at the same time, and telling the Australian public everything at the single point of time, and I think that’s a good thing,” she said.



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