QLD border reopening in jeopardy as Victorian cases soar

 

THERE have been no new cases of coronavirus overnight in Queensland, but Victorian cases have again spiked by 33, putting the Queensland border reopening in jeopardy.

Queensland has only two active cases in the entire state while Victoria today recorded its biggest coronavirus spike in months with Premier Daniel Andrews announcing a 10-day testing blitz across 10 priority suburbs.

Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the Government would look at new cases across one and two incubation periods to consider the risks before reopening the borders.

He said it was in everyone's interest for Victoria to get on top of its community transmissions.

"We are monitoring the situation there very closely," he said.

Mr Miles said the Prime Minister had previously said he did not want states entering into travel bubbles.

Mr Miles insisted the move would be difficult for police to enforce.

"That's an unlikely scenario," he said.

Well done, Queensland - it’s been seven days with zero new cases. Now let’s continue to keep Queensland safe. Keep...

Posted by Annastacia Palaszczuk MP on Wednesday, 24 June 2020

It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed state borders reopening saying Australians need to learn to live with the coronavirus.

Mr Morrison says despite the hard days "there is reason for hope" and says there are systems in place to keep the outbreaks contained and allow the country to continue to reopen.

The Victorian outbreak, which has seen as many as 20 new cases a day for more than a week, has caused concern about borders reopening.

Queensland's roadmap points to a July 10 reopening, though Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said it depends on a review at the end of this month.

Mr Morrison rejected the notion of the border shutdowns, saying it had never been a position of the National Cabinet, but the states acting unilaterally.

"We have to focus on keeping the economy open. We have to live alongside COVID, it's not going anywhere," he said.

"We have systems in place to deal with outbreaks. We have to keep forging ahead and do that together."

The Prime Minister said opening the economy only to close it again due to challenges in Melbourne would not be helpful.

"We can't go stop, go, stop, go. We can't flick the lights on and off, on and off," Mr Morrison said.

"I'm saying we're moving ahead. We built the protections to move on outbreaks."

Despite some differences, he praised the efforts of the National Cabinet so far, ahead of its next meeting on Friday.

"Now is the time to support each other. Victoria has a challenge at the moment," he said.

"We're working quite well together as a team. Sure, there's a few times when state rivalries poke up."

Queensland has now done more than 340,000 tests since the outbreak began and has not recorded a single case in eight days.

The Queensland Government today announced that it would establish a strategic stockpile of protective medical equipment for any future pandemic.

Mr Miles said throughout the pandemic, health systems had suffered a shortage of medical supplies and that Queensland was not immune.

"There were times that we faced shortages of a wide range of equipment," he said.

"There were many products which were running in short supply.

"In fact, there are times even now that we continue to run short on products and that is why today's announcement (of a strategic medical stockpile) is so important."

He said the stockpile of critical medical equipment would be made available to the state's health services to ensure Queensland "never, ever again" runs short on what is needed to deliver healthcare.


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