784 new cases as Qld considers changes to testing requirements

Queensland has recorded an expected rise in COVID-19 cases, with another 784 infections detected in the past 24 hours.

There are now 3621 cases considered active across the state, however, only four people are in hospital with COVID-19 symptoms.

The new cases were detected all across the state, with the Chief Health Officer warning the virus is now well and truly everywhere.


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“They’re right across Queensland, you can assume that wherever you live in Queensland you now have the potential to be exposed to this virus,” Dr John Gerrard said.

“And you should be living your life as if that is the case, wearing a mask whenever you’re indoors or close to other people”.

It comes as the Premier today announced that Queensland Health is now accepting vaccination bookings for children aged five to eleven.

The smaller dose Pfizer jabs, which are not mandatory, will be available from January 10.

“This is really important now because we know this pandemic can actually have impacts on the unvaccinated, mild symptoms in children, but we do want to make sure our children are protected,” Annastacia Palszczuk said.

The vaccinations will be available through Queensland Health and Commonwealth-run clinics, GPs, and pharmacies.

“It’s important that we get as many children vaccinated as we can before school goes back,”  the Premier said.

“This has been tested… But it is up to you to decide whether or not your children get vaccinated, but the more of our community that are vaccinated, the better, because the virus is here in Queensland and case numbers are climbing.”

The State Government has also confirmed that testing capacity at some locations, including on the Gold Coast, will be boosted over the next few days to keep up with a surge in demand.

It comes as wait times continue to blow out, with some facilities reporting waits of more than five hours over the weekend.

“The issue is some of the private clinics have actually shut down over the Christmas and New Year period,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“That’s why our testing clinics are going to ramp up over that period, we’re adding more staff as we speak.

“Once we get through New Year’s we’ll pretty much be back to normal.”

Meantime, the Premier has revealed Queensland health officials are also reviewing the Day Five PCR test requirement for interstate travellers from hotspots.

“We are looking very carefully at the Day Five test, we are doing some work about whether or not that could be a rapid antigen test,” she said.

A decision on the use of rapid antigen tests instead of PCR tests is expected to made in the next 24 to 48 hours.

However, there’s not expected to be any changes to the testing requirements needed to actually enter the state until January 1, with hopes rapid tests will replace PCR tests in the new year.

“We’re just working out how that could be administered,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“As the world is moving towards rapid antigen tests, that is something we are closely looking at and will be guided by the Chief Health Officer”.