Transport Minister Mark Bailey has defended Queensland’s tough border restrictions as the State Government continues to face increased pressure.
It comes after a northern NSW grandmother became the latest victim to the strict border rules, when her request to enter the state via road for a few hours to farewell her son was rejected.
Elena Turner was told via email that she would not be able to attend the funeral of her 49-year-old son in Logan on Tuesday due to the border restrictions.
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Instead, she was advised that the only way she could enter the state was by flying into Brisbane where she would then need to quarantine for 14 days at her own expense, meaning the funeral would need to be postponed at least two weeks.
The latest case has reiterated calls by people across the country, including the state opposition, for the Premier and her team to “show some compassion”.
“What’s so distressing is most of these heartbreaking cases are with people that are coming from non-covid hotspots, a lot of of these cases are from northern NSW and the ACT ,” LNP leader Deb Frecklington told reporters on Saturday.
However, Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the difficult decisions to stop people from entering the state for funerals was required to protect Queenslanders.
“The best way, the most compassionate way of dealing with this crisis is to stop more funerals from occurring, I know it’s difficult, we all know it’s incredibly difficult for people in circumstances where they’ve lost someone they love, but we don’t want more funerals,” Minister Bailey said.
“Queensland is one of the best jurisdictions in the world in terms of responding to the COVID crisis, the reason we are one of the best in the world is that from day one when we declared a health emergency, the first state in Australia to do so, we have listened to and acted on health advice from the very beginning.
“That’s why there’s been so few deaths in Queensland and we’ve been one of the best jurisdictions in the world.”
He added that “politicians should not be making health decisions about COVID”.
“That model is something that we absolutely need to continue, we don’t need politicians making decisions about the COVID crisis, we need doctors to be making those decisions,” he said.
Minister Bailey said the Chief Health Officer has been so strict is because funerals are one of the highest risk places for the virus to spread.
“Everybody is grieving, they hug each other, and there’s close contact… and secondly, there’s a lot of senior citizens usually at funerals, so they are high risk in terms of community transmission,” he said.
Queensland has recorded three new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, including a man in his 20s and two girls aged under 10.
Health Minister Steven Miles confirmed the trio are all contacts of previously known cases and have all been in quarantine.
It takes the number of active cases in the state to 31, with one of those here on the Gold Coast.
Saturday, 12 September – coronavirus cases in Queensland:
• 3 new confirmed cases
• 31 active cases
• 1,149 total confirmed cases
• 1,017,965 tests conducted
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) September 12, 2020