Annastacia Palaszczuk MP

Qld Government announces further easing of virus restrictions

Pack those bags Queenslanders, we’re going on a state road trip!

The Queensland Government announced on Sunday that they have brought forward Stage Two of easing coronavirus restrictions by almost two weeks.

That means from midday Monday, Queenslanders will be able to undertake unlimited travel by road, rail and air throughout the entire state, except for restricted areas.

In some more good news, more locals will also be allowed in cafés, restaurants, pubs and clubs, with an increase in the number of customers from 10 to 20.

However, Premier Annastacia Palaczczuk said that could increase even more on Friday if businesses have a COVID Safe Plan in place.

“From noon on Friday, June 5, venues with more space will be allowed up to 20 people in each defined area if they follow an approved COVID Safe Industry Plan,” Ms Palaczczuk said.

From Monday, gatherings in homes, gyms and places of worship will also increase to 20 people.

Although the Premier stressed the easing of restrictions does not apply to biosecurity or restricted zones, which will remain in place to protect vulnerable indigenous communities.

PHOTO: Qld Government

Despite desperate pleas from the tourism industry and struggling local businesses, the Premier confirmed on Sunday that the border will remain closed for at least another month.

“Let me make it very clear, the border will remain closed for the month of June,” Ms Palaczczuk said.

“At the end of June we will actively consider all of the circumstances across the nation.. we will make a decision [on borders] at the end of the month.”

She instead encouraged Queenslanders to support local businesses by travelling throughout the state this month in what has been described as a “Queensland Bubble”.

“This will go a long way toward giving our critical tourism industry a welcome boost and I encourage Queenslanders to take advantage of the easing of rules around intrastate travel”.

The Premier said Queensland’s “outstanding response” to the Covid-19 pandemic had allowed the travel restrictions to be lifted ahead of a planned move to Stage Two, which was originally scheduled for June 12.

“The only reason we are able to move forward with our planned Stage Two ahead of the original June 12 date is because Queenslanders have listened to the advice, acted on that advice and done an outstanding job of helping to smash the Covid-19 curve,” the Premier said.

“From the Gold Coast to Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast to Gympie to Maryborough to Bundaberg, from Longreach to Mt Isa, to Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns, Queenslanders will now be able to rediscover their state, travelling for as many nights as they like.”

PHOTO: Qld Government

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles reiterated that social distancing rules do still apply and urged businesses to ensure they’re enforcing them.

“From Friday this week, with a COVID safe plan, venues with more space will be able to go further and allow up to 20 people in each separate area, seated for meals or drinks,” he said.

“For example, some surf clubs, pubs and RSLs may have four or five defined separate indoor and outdoor areas – they can have 20 people in each of these areas if the areas are big enough.

“However, every venue must continue to adhere to strict social distancing rules including limiting each patron to an area of four square metres and adhere to hygiene protocols.”

Minister Miles said crowds standing at the bar does not support social distancing.

“I know many Queenslanders will look forward to having a drink out. It will be a different experience… you will need to be seated and be served by a waiter to order your drinks,” he said.

Today’s announcement comes after Queensland recorded zero new virus cases for the fourth day in a row.

Just five people in the state currently have the disease, with 1046 now fully recovered.

The state total remains at 1058.

Today’s National Cabinet meeting to discuss border closures

National Cabinet will meet again today, with a variety of issues on the agenda, including the state border closures.

The Prime Minister has recently said there’s simply no reason for the closures, and that the federal health advice never said they were necessary.

It comes after Queensland in particular comes under intense criticism on the issue, with One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson pursuing High Court action on the matter and struggling tourism businesses considering protests.

Today’s meeting of state and territory leaders, as well as the Prime Minister, will also discuss issues around public transport.

As more people return to the workplace around the country, it’s understood more consistent rules around city trains, trams and busses may need to be put in palce.

While the future of the National Cabinet itself will be discussed. It could become a permanent feature due to its success during the coronavirus crisis.

Steven Miles MP

No new COVID-19 cases as investigations ramp up into Central Qld death

Queensland has recorded another day of no new coronavirus cases as health officials frantically try and trace the source of the virus that killed a 30-year-old man in Blackwater.

Nathan Turner was found dead in his home on Tuesday afternoon with subsequent tests confirming he had COVID-19.

Authorities have identified 20 people who were in contact with the man, including his partner, with 18 of those already tested which have all returned negative.

Testing is being significantly increased in the Central Queensland town with a third fever clinic opening at the Blackwater Rodeo Grounds today.

More than 30 locals were tested yesterday with another 95 booked in to be swabbed today.

The Chief Health Officer has also ordered testing of sewerage in the town to give investigators a better idea of whether the man’s case was locally acquired.

Queensland Health is also still investigating links between a Rockhampton nurse who tested positive, and the death of the man in Blackwater.

Health Minister Steven Miles says it’s unlikely she was the source of the infection, as the man had symptoms before the nurse travelled to the town earlier this month.

But he says it can’t be completely ruled out yet.

“It’s possible and so they’re continuing to work through that,” Mr Miles said.

“Obviously, we’ve had very low numbers of confirmed cases, and very low numbers in the central Queensland region and so why it might just be a coincidence, our public health unit will investigate thoroughly whether this is a possible source of the infection.”

Mr Miles says the nurse has told officials that she travelled almost 200kms to Blackwater to watch the sunrise or sunset, which the Minister admits is “curious.”

The Minister has defended the decision not to issue a public health alert in Blackwater following the nurse’s diagnosis, saying she had told investigators she had no contact with anyone in the town.

The State’s total number of cases stands at 1058 but the number of active cases has fallen to just six.

Testing rates were high on Wednesday but Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young insists that’s not enough if we want to see restrictions lifted sooner.

“For us to go forward and to lift those very onerous restrictions that have been in place now, we must do more testing,” Dr Young said.

“We have the capacity in Queensland to test 10,000 Queenslanders every single day. We have not even reached half of that number, so I implore Queenslanders, if you have any symptoms at all, or a fever of 37.5 degrees Celsius or above, or a history of fever, then please come forward and get tested.”

Petrol Pumps

Gold Coast motorists to see petrol drop below $1 a litre

Never fear motorists! Petrol prices will dip below $1 a litre yet again, and sooner than you think.

The RACQ says bowser prices in the south east are on their way down, but probably wont reach as low as they were a few weeks ago (90c!!!).

RACQ spokesperson Lauren Ritchie says that as we enter the cheap phase of the price cycle, ULP prices should still get below 100c.

“While prices won’t fall as low during this cycle due to a higher global oil price, there will still be plenty of unleaded petrol for below 100cpl,” Ms Ritchie said.

“Some fuel companies on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane’s south-western suburbs have already dropped prices below 100cpl and in the next few days we hope to see more retailers do the same.

“This is great news for motorists because this time around more of us will be able to take advantage of the cheap fuel, as travel restrictions are being lifted and we’re able to drive further and more frequently to school and work.

“If you’re filling up today in Brisbane or on the Gold Coast, aim for 102cpl or less. If you’re in Ipswich, aim for 103cpl or less.

“We did see the average ULP price dip below 100cpl briefly in 2008 and 2016, but we haven’t seen prices consistently this low since 2005,” Ms Ritchie said.

 

Crime Scene Tape

UPDATE | Father charged with murder of 4yo girl found dead at Brisbane home

UPDATE @ 6.00AM | The father of a four year old girl who was found dead in her home in Brisbane has been charged with murder.

The 43-year-old was taken into custody last night, and after extensive questioning overnight, has now been charged.

The body of his four year old daughter was discovered at their Cannon Hill property just after 9.00am yesterday morning.

Police are still investigating how long the girl had been dead for, with reports the girl may have starved to death.

It’s understood detectives will allege that the girl had a medical condition and wasn’t given medication for some reason.

The 43-year-old was refused bail to front Brisbane Magistrates court this morning.

A crime scene is still set up at the home, with investigations continuing.

All first responders have been offered counselling.

EARLIER @ 12.00PM | The body of a four year old child has been found at a home in Brisbane.

The discovery was reportedly made at a home in Cannon Hill just after 9.00am, with forensics attending the scene a short time later.

Most of the street has been blocked off for the morning, which inconvenienced the drop-off services at a nearby school.

The school’s since been notified of the discovery as well.

Channel Nine is on scene, reporting a short time ago that senior detectives have taken family members from the home to the police station for questioning.

However, not much other information is currently known, with Queensland Police due to further update the media this afternoon.

The child’s gender has not been confirmed.