Queenslanders criticising the strict border measures have been told by the state’s peak doctors group to ask themselves one question: Would you rather more people at funerals, or more COVID funerals?
Speaking to media on Sunday morning, Australian Medical Association Queensland’s president and vice-president came to the defence of Qld Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young, who is facing mounting pressure over her border measures.
In recent days, a Canberra woman was unable to attend her father’s funeral, and a father-of-four was told to pick one of his children to say goodbye to him on his deathbed.
Meanwhile, Hollywood icon Tom Hanks jetted into the Gold Coast for a luxury hotel quarantine, and AFL officials continue to lounge by the pool in their COVID-bubble ahead of a Brisbane grand final.
The border battle reached boiling point when Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk pleading for her to be more compassionate over her border measures, to which she reinforced that borders are controlled by Dr Young.
On Sunday Queensland recorded no new COVID-19 cases, with only 30 active cases across the state. The majority are linked to clusters in the southeast.
Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said it was great news for the state, as he compared the results to cases in NSW and Victoria.
“Today there are 145 active cases in NSW, and in the last reporting period, Victoria recorded seven deaths,” he said.
“That’s more deaths in one 24 hour period than all (COVID-19) deaths in Queensland (since the beginning of the pandemic).
“If we hadn’t managed to keep those cases out, to contain that second wave to Victoria … we wouldn’t be able to go about the freedoms we can now.
“It’s so important we continue to take the health advice, regardless of the pressure put on us.”
Mr Miles called into question the attacks being made against Dr Young.
AMAQ president Associate Professor Christopher Perry said the attacks were unacceptable.
“We believe in the science of the Chief Health Officer, and we believe Qld should continue to follow her advice,” he said.
“If she says the borders should stay closed, they should stay closed.
“We are evidence based.”
Vice President Dr Bavahuna Manoharan said Queenslanders criticising the CHO’s border measures should ask themselves one simple question.
“Do you want more people at funerals or do you want more COVID- funerals?” he said.
“We (at the AMA) are inherently compassionate people – we have to be, it’s in our oath.”
Dr Manoharan said it was important the interest of Queenslanders health was made priority over the tourism industry.
It comes after Qantas lead a petition to get Queensland’s borders back open to aid the flailing tourism industry.
“We strongly stand by the CHO. We think she’s done an extraordinary job,” Dr Manoharan said.
Prof Perry said the attacks on Dr Young needed to stop, so she could continue to do her job which was keeping Queensland COVID-free.
“I’d ask (those trolls) to back off, we think she’s doing a great job,” he said.
“We would prefer to have fewer funerals than have more people at the funerals.”
Mr Miles also reinforced his message to the LNP-led campaign to reopen Queensland’s borders, after attacks from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Queensland’s Opposition leader over the strict measures.
“Every state has some kind of border restrictions in place,” he said.
“One thing I would agree with the PM is that I too would like to see the border reopen by Christmas.
“But only if it’s safe, not just because it’s what Scott Morrison wants.
“Only if the health advice says it’s safe.”