Qld govt mulls easing virus restrictions

Marty Silk |

The Queensland government is considering easing some COVID-19 restrictions as the recent wave continues to subside.

The state recorded another nine virus deaths and 5795 new cases in the 24 hours to 6.30am on Friday.

There are 384 patients being treated for COVID-19 in hospital and another 34 people in intensive care.

Chief Health Officer John Gerrard says while the deaths were tragic, the Omicron wave was subsiding.

He says Queensland has weathered the outbreak better than he had expected due to a high double-dose vaccination rate when it was initially seeded in December.

“We were projecting significantly higher numbers than expected and there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that this is due to the widescale vaccination,” Dr Gerrard told reporters.

“Some of our epidemiologists have been doing some estimates on what would have happened (without high vaccination rates) and we were talking thousands of deaths and the hospital system overrun.”

Queensland currently has mandatory quarantine for virus cases and isolation for close contracts, mandatory face masks indoors and mandatory double-vaccination for venues such as cafes, bars, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and sports stadiums.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would discuss possibly easing some of those mandates with Dr Gerrard in the next couple of days.

“I will definitely let Queenslanders know before the end of the month about what restrictions will be eased,” she told reporters.

She said while states such as NSW and Victoria were already easing restrictions, they were further progressed in their outbreaks than Queensland.

The premier also noted that with only about 40 per cent of school-aged children vaccinated, wearing face masks indoors was suppressing COVID-19 in the community.

Earlier this week, Dr Gerrard said if any restrictions were eased that would be in the understanding they may need to be reintroduced if the virus started spreading again in the colder winter months.

The latest figures show 92.45 per cent of eligible Queenslanders have had at least one dose of a vaccine, 90.48 per cent have had two jabs and 62.64 per cent have had a booster.