New rules by Monday as no new Gold Coast cases means good news for Schoolies

A new round of freedoms beckons with Queensland expected to hit the 70 per cent fully vaccinated milestone on Sunday or Monday.

Nov 12, 2021, updated Nov 12, 2021
Even the rite of passage for many high school graduates, Schoolies, was disrupted by the pandemic last year. Photo: ABC

Even the rite of passage for many high school graduates, Schoolies, was disrupted by the pandemic last year. Photo: ABC

The news comes as authorities announced the Gold Coast has not recorded any positive COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours despite an Uber driver testing positive earlier in the week.

The annual Schoolies Week celebration will go ahead if there are no more cases but authorities have warned the Gold Coast is not out of the woods and the next seven days will be crucial in deciding if the end-of-year school leavers’ party is allowed.

The State recorded four new COVID-19 cases on Friday morning – two linked to the Moree cluster and in home quarantine and two overseas cases in hotel quarantine.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Friday that the State was on track to hit the 70 per cent fully vaccinated target by Sunday or Monday. She said that on Friday 80.55 per cent of Queenslanders had received one dose and 68.84 per cent had received two doses.

Police announced that once the 70 per cent figure was reached they were ready to go, allowing thousands of Queenslanders, currently stuck over the border, to finally return home.

Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said those waiting to cross the border back into Queensland would be granted border passes and the ability to home quarantine.

He said there were more than 14,000 people in the system waiting for border passes and once the 70 per cent trigger was announced those people would be notified of their next steps.

The Gold Coast had been on tenterhooks after it was revealed on Thursday that a fully-vaccinated Uber driver had tested positive and been infectious in the community.

The four new cases include two females – a young child under 10 and a teenager, both connected to the Goondiwindi and Moree cluster and in home quarantine.

Two others are overseas acquired, from Papua New Guinea, and in hotel quarantine and were not infectious while on their flight, posing no risk to the wider community.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Peter Aitken said there had no new cases on the Gold Coast.

“The best news is despite lots of testing on the Gold Coast yesterday there are no cases on the Gold Coast today,” Aitken said.

He said genomic testing on the Uber driver and another man who had tested positive earlier in the week on the Gold Coast was ongoing. Aitken said there were no links to any previous Queensland cases but there were some similarities with Victorian cases.

Both Gold Coast cases are clustering but authorities are still working to identify the links between the two.

Palaszczuk said the Gold Coast was “not out of the woods yet” and careful monitoring is essential. “So far, so good,” she said.

“If you live on the Gold Coast, let me make it very clear, we need to make sure that we do not have community transmission. So we need people to get tested and if you are asked to home quarantine, we need you to follow the directives from Queensland Health,” Palaszczuk said.

“We have Schoolies coming up very shortly so we are concerned. The next 24-48 hours is going to be very critical.

“We don’t want to cancel Schoolies. I want Schoolies to go ahead. It depends what happens over the next few days.”

Palaszczuk was speaking on Friday at Redbank Plains State High School, ahead of weekend vaccination blitzes at schools.

She said that on Thursday, 17,509 vaccinations had been administered – the highest daily State wide figure in the past two weeks.

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