News Coronavirus Queensland begins easing off on COVID-19 restrictions

Queensland begins easing off on COVID-19 restrictions

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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk: "We are going to go early and go hard". Photo: AAP
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Family picnics and weekend drives are back on the agenda for Queenslanders starting next weekend after just three COVID-19 cases were recorded overnight on Saturday.

Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk says the easing of restrictions would start at midnight on Friday and people would be limited to travelling about 50km from their residence.

However, she warned if there were “mass gatherings” she would cancel the restrictions.

Outings are “limited to members of your own household”, she said.

“We will be able to lift some of the stay-at-home restrictions and can I say, this is a small step and one that we really need the public to 100 per cent co-operate with,” she told reporters on Sunday.

“If we do see mass gatherings, I will not hesitate to clamp back down.”

She said the 50km limit was to avoid large scale movements of people between places like “Cairns to Townsville”.

Health Minister Steven MIles said there were just 98 active cases throughout the state while Queensland’s total infections rose to 1030 after three new cases were recorded overnight on Saturday while another was added from previous testing.

There are 18 people in hospital, six of them in intensive and five of those on ventilators.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young implored social distancing must be maintained.

People in vulnerable categories, such as over 65 years of age with existing ailments, should consider weekday, rather than weekends, to get out of the house.

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If water sports devotees keep their social distance like this duo, no problem. Photo: Getty

Of concern was that of the two cases announced on Saturday, they had yet to determine where one person contracted COVID-19.

“Although we only had two cases yesterday, one of them was locally acquired in North Brisbane, and we’re still trying to find the source of that case,” she said

The lifting of restrictions come after Queensland’s independent schools called on the Palaszczuk government to allow all Year 11 and 12 students to return to school immediately.

Pressure is mounting to re-open schools, at least for senior years. Photo: AAP

Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) want Year 11 and 12 students to return amid COVID-19 restrictions so they’re not disadvantaged compared to their interstate counterparts.

Schools are open only for students of essential workers and vulnerable children otherwise they remain closed until May 22 in Queensland.

ISQ Executive Director David Robertson stated in his letter to Ms Palaszcuk that every effort should be made to minimise disruption to the continuity of quality teaching and learning.

“With Queensland adopting the ATAR for tertiary entrance from this year, it is important that Queensland students are not disadvantaged compared to their counterparts in other states and territories,” he wrote.

Students have been encouraged to attend school in South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory while NSW students will be attending classes one day a week from May 11.

Ms Palaszczuk stood by a May 15 deadline to announce when students return to school in Queensland by May 15.