Australia

Qlders told pandemic ‘far from over’ as no new cases recorded

New COVID-19 testing clinics will be set up in Brisbane’s south west, after a recent case spent time in the community while infectious. It comes as Queenslanders are being warned the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, as the state records the second virus-free day in a row.The state’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young…

New COVID-19 testing clinics will be set up in Brisbane’s south west, after a recent case spent time in the community while infectious.

It comes as Queenslanders are being warned the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, as the state records the second virus-free day in a row.

The state’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young said she was still concerned about “ongoing risk of transmission” around the Ipswich area.

Dr Young said there was one person who had recently been diagnosed with COVID-19 who had been out in the Ipswich area while infectious in the last 14 days.

“Additional clinics will be put in place … we’re asking residents of Goodna, Redbank Plains and Redbank with any symptoms at all to come forward and get tested,” she said.

“We’re looking at putting some additional clinics in place, but at the moment there are several clinics people can go to. You can attend any clinic.

“There are still some chains of transmission we need to cap off.

“We want to find the first case in a cluster, not the fortieth… at that stage it is hard to get on top of it.”

In the last testing period, just 2934 samples were received, well below the state’s testing capability of 10,000 tests per day.

Dr Young said a second COVID-19 free day in row was a promising sign, she had concerns about cases possibly going undetected in the state.

“We will not be in the clear until there has been 14 days without any new cases in the community,” Dr Young said.

“It’s not under control… it’s too early to say it definitely is. We need to wait until we’ve seen two weeks clear.”

It comes as the World Health Organisation confirmed in the last 24 hours, the global case numbers had reached their highest daily tally since the pandemic begun.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said while there were now only 30 active cases in the state, the pandemic was far from over.

“This hasn’t peaked yet. Sometimes it feels like it’s passed here because we have done so well but we need to remember that globally, this pandemic is getting worse,” he said.

“In Israel, in a bid to deal with their second wave, they’ve gone back into lockdown. Residents there will only be able to move within 500m of their homes for the next three weeks.

“It shows just what could happen if we experience a second wave in Queensland.”

Dr Young said it was “too early to relax”.

“We’re now eight months in and we’re learning more and more about this virus every day … this affects every cell in the body, and leaves long lasting problems for the heart, kidneys, brain and lungs,” she said.

“So it’s really important we minimise the number of people who get this disease.

“This is about people not getting this disease … that’s why we have very strict protocols in place for quarantine.

“There is no clear end to this, we need to work together.”

Mr Miles also hit back at the LNP, who he claims is making the state’s borders a political issue ahead of the October 31 state election.

Queensland’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who is expected to front media later today in a separate press conference, has been highly criticised over her state’s strict border measures.

In the last few days, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, and Queensland LNP Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington have all hit out at Ms Palaszczuk over a string of high profile cases of people unable to attend funerals or farewell dying relatives while in quarantine.

Mr Miles said all cases were complex, and the Prime Minister had “made a mistake” when weighing in.

“He was left with egg on his face when the facts of those cases came out,” he said.

“I know our CHO and her team go through all those cases, and… they are as compassionate as they can be, while ensuring Queenslanders are kept safe.”

Rising pressure has meant Dr Young has had to involve a constant police presence as she fends off death threats, something she said had taken an “enormous toll” on her.

“It has taken an enormous toll on me, but then this has taken an enormous toll on every single person in our community,” she said.

“There’s no rule book for dealing with this.”

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