No going back: Premier says life won’t be ‘normal’ until virus vaccine found

Queenslanders will continue to live with social restrictions until there is a vaccine for COVID-19, the Premier says.


Jul 02, 2020, updated Jul 02, 2020
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. (Photo: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. (Photo: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said industries would not simply bounce back to the way they operated before the global health crisis.

“It’s never going to be exactly the same, so we are in this post-COVID world,” she said on Wednesday.

“Until there is a vaccine, we have to keep up with the social distancing, we never know when there could be a new case.

“We have contact tracing in place ready to go and as we’ve seen, it can emerge very quickly, like it has in Victoria.”

However, the state government will continue to review the remaining limits and may roll them back further, depending on how well Australia and Queensland handle the virus.

The Sunshine State is sending its deputy chief health officer and 40 nurses to Victoria as the state struggles to bring a surburban Melbourne outbreak under control.

Palaszczuk said Queensland will throw more resources at Victoria to help with the mammoth task of suppressing community transmission, if it is asked.

It will also be taking a share of international flights diverted from Victoria while it grapples with the outbreak.

Queensland is preparing to open its borders to all states except Victoria on July 10.

The decision comes after weeks of calls from the hospitality and tourism industries for the reopening amid a financial downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Anyone arriving from Victoria will either be turned around at the border or forced to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks at their own cost.

All other visitors will be welcome, but must fill out a declaration that they haven’t been overseas or to Victoria in the 14 days prior to their arrival.

“We expect people to tell the truth because if it’s found out that they are lying, it is a very serious offence, it is $4000,” Palaszczuk added.

Queensland caravan park owners are already fielding calls from Victorians on how they can get around the rule.

“I’ve spoken to several caravan parks today who say their phones have been running hot, particularly with Victorians trying to find out if they spend 14 days in New South Wales, can they then come into Queensland,” Caravanning Queensland general manager Michelle Weston said.

“There are a large number of Victorians who call Queensland home over winter, so with the border restrictions, that will mean a lot of those may not be able to come.”

Meanwhile, a Gold Coast tourism body says it could be too late for businesses there to cash in on the NSW school holidays.

Destination Gold Coast chief executive Annaliese Battista said school holidays were a critical period for the industry and she expects bookings will gradually increase by the next break in September.

Palaszczuk has taken other state leaders to task for adding to the public pressure to open up Queensland, but said the national cabinet was still working well.

In the meantime, restrictions on dining and retail, contact sports and gatherings will further ease from noon on Friday.

Casinos, food courts and nightclubs can reopen while weddings, funerals and private gatherings of up to 100 people can go ahead from Friday.


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