Premier announces isolation crackdown as QLD records 55 new virus cases

Queensland has recorded a further 55 new cases of coronavirus, taking the State’s total to 743 as the Government announces a crackdown on those ordered to quarantine or self-isolate.

The overnight increase is higher than the previous two days but officials say the numbers are still relatively stable.

Of the new cases, 11 of those were on the Gold Coast, taking the city’s total to 147.

Currently there are 65 coronavirus patients being treated in hospital with seven in ICU.

Queensland Health has now tested 46,845 people with a positive test rate of just 1.6 per cent, below the national average of 1.88 per cent.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has today announced further measures to ensure people in quarantine or self-isolation are adhering to their order.

It’s hoped the move will not only limit the further spread of the virus, but ease the pressure on Queensland Health who are forced to contact thousands of people who may have come into contact with an infected person.

Since the end of January, 40,212 quarantine or isolation orders have been issued to Queenslanders.

Extra resources are being poured into monitoring those people, with Attorney-General Yvette D’ath to oversee the efforts.

People who flout their order could face fines of up to $13,345.

“This is really important, we need to be throwing everything we have at this to make sure we are helping Health to do this enormous job,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Tuesday.

“They have a unit of 500 people doing contact tracing, so we will throw whatever we need at it, so any extra, additional resources, Dr Young needs, my Government will deliver.”

“This is a time for all of us who don’t need to be out and about to remain in our own home so we minimise the spread, that’s really important.”

The Attorney-General will be assisted by law enforcement agencies and the Department of Justice to ensure compliance.

“We need the public to understand this, these are not voluntary orders. They are enforceable at law and they will be enforced,” Ms D’ath said.

“This is the only way we can save lives in this state, making sue that anyone who has received a notice to quarantine or isolate understands the significance of that order.

“We need them to understand, you can’t pop down to the shops, you can’t go out for a walk, you should not be leaving your home if you are on a quarantine or self-isolation order.”

Of the 743 positive tests, Queensland Health has contacted around 50,000 people who they may have come into contact with.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young says the crackdown is a really important step and will further limit the spread and ease pressure on Queensland Health staff.

“So we don’t have to contact trace those hundreds of people for each case, we will only need to contact trace for people in the home and for people who are out at work,” Dr Young said.

Police Gold Coast

First fines issued for breaching strict coronavirus rules

Queensland authorities have handed out the first fines for flouting tough new restrictions introduced to limit the spread of coronavirus.

A Brisbane massage parlour was hit with two infringement notices after being caught operating, despite massage parlours being among the businesses ordered to close.

The business copped a $6672 fine while a worker at the parlour was fined $1334.

“Obviously this related to a compliance check of licensed and unlicensed brothels that we are carrying out, massage parloursm and it’s obviously alleged in this instance that the massage services were offered in contravention to that directive,” Commissioner Katarina Carroll said on Tuesday. 

“As I said yesterday and will continue to say that we will be conducting compliance checks in all of those directives into the future.”

Police have also revealed they were forced to taser a man in Surfers Paradise after a disturbance while in quarantine.

Commissioner Carroll says the man threatened to harm himself at a home n the early hours of this morning.

“When police turned up they could not reason with him. It got a little more serious than that with police having to take action by way of a taser.”

The man was taken to hospital to undergo mental health checks.

It comes as the State Government announces plans to crack down on people in quarantine and self-isolation to ensure they are complying with their orders.

Since the end of January, more than 40 thousand people in Queensland have been ordered to quarantine or isolate.

Related: Premier announces isolation crackdown as QLD records 55 new virus cases

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Man headbutts, spits on Police officer after ignoring Sydney beach closure

A man has been charged with allegedly headbutting and spitting on Police after being ordered off a beach in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

The man and woman were at Maroubra beach on Monday morning with lifeguards forced to remind them that the beach was off-limits.

The pair allegedly hurled abuse at the lifeguards who then called Police.

The man and woman were spotted a short time later on Mons Avenue where officers tried to arrest the man.

He allegedly headbutted and spat on a female sergeant, leaving her with a cut lip and swelling to her head.

Other Police rushed to the scene, arresting both the man and woman after a short struggle.

The 29-year-old man was charged with assault police occasioning actual bodily harm, resist arrest, offensive behaviour and fail to comply with terms of notice erected by council.

He was due in court on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old woman was issued with an infringement notice for offensive behaviour and fail to comply with terms of notice erected by council.

Police Minister David Elliott has slammed the behaviour of some people towards Police.

“I’ve had a gutful of people abusing, harassing and assaulting our hardworking police officers who put their own safety on the line every day to protect the very people who attack them,” Minister Elliott said.

“If you choose to ignore a direction from police – one that is in place to save lives – then you can expect to be issued with a hefty fine or jail time.”

Hospital

Australia’s private health sector to merge with public during coronavirus fight

The Australian medical system will now see another massive reshaping measure, with the announcement of a new deal with the private sector and the federal government.

Private hospital will no be integrated with the public health system, which will see over 34,000 beds become available for use during the coronavirus pandemic.

It will also guarantee the jobs of over 100,000 full and part time health workers, including over 57,000 nurses.

The deal will ensure that the intensive care units of private hospitals are also utilised, opening up a third of Australia’s ICU capacity.

Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt says it’s a significant stride in the reshaping of the medical system to deal with the virus.

“Two days ago we announced universal TeleHealth for Australians, in other words, we rebuilt Medicare over the course of the last ten days.

“Now we have over a million TeleHealth consultations that have been completed.

“That’s protecting doctors and nurses, and protecting patients, and providing access where otherwise it might not exist.

“The second great element in the reconstruction of the Australian medical system, is reconstructing the relationship between public and private hospitals.

“The partnership between the Australian government, the states and the private hospital system will deliver additional capacity for the Australian system.

“It does that in return for the viability of the private hospital sector throughout the course of the COVID-19 epidemic, this pandemic that the world knows.

“And it does it in such a way, that the hospitals will be available and the staff will be available to participate fully in our national response.

“And to be able to bounce out and support the needs of the population after we emerge from the period of coronavirus.

“We will be guaranteeing the viability – along with the states – of all 657 private hospitals in Australia.

“We’re doing this with a Commonwealth guarantee then State partnerships, then the individual private hospitals relying on the source income that they have from their ordinary operations, those three things together will mean that our hospitals will be able to continue.

“An important part of this, is that in return for our guarantee, there’s a guarantee of flexibility, capacity, participation and staff retention from the private hospitals,” Mr Hunt said.

Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia enters trading halt as it seeks $1.4bn rescue package

VIRGIN Australia has entered a trading halt this morning pending further announcement about its future.

The airline announced on the ASX trading would be ‘temporarily paused’ from 9.52am AEDT.

It comes amid reports the airline is seeking $1.4 billion in financial support from the federal government in order for it to survive the coronavirus crisis, which continues to heavily impact the aviation industry.

It could involve the government becoming a part-owner if it can pay back the loan within three years.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg declined to comment on the specifics of the government’s negotiations when pressed on Tuesday morning.

“I won’t comment on the specifics of approaches to the government by particularly companies… that’s commercial in confidence,” Mr Frydenberg told Sunrise.

“But the government’s made very clear we support a sustainable, viable aviation sector. That’s why we’ve already made announcements of more than $700 million in support measures for that particular sector and we believe having two airlines in Australia is a good thing.”

Virgin Australia recently cut its workforce by 80 per cent and its capacity by 90 per cent after strict border measures were implemented by various governments worldwide.