News Coronavirus ‘Don’t think the time is right’: Qld Premier’s quarantine frustration

‘Don’t think the time is right’: Qld Premier’s quarantine frustration

queensland virus
COVID testing stepped up in Queensland after last week's confirmed cases. Photo: AAP
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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wants quarantine “loopholes” closed after one of the state’s positive COVID cases was revealed to be a returning consular official who was exempt.

Queensland had no new coronavirus cases to report on Monday.

But Ms Palaszczuk said she would raise the issue of exemptions granted to overseas travellers after the returned official, who lives in Queensland, tested positive on Sunday.

“I don’t think the time is right now for those exemptions,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said it would be a “matter for the chief health officers” around the country to ultimately decide.

“I just don’t think we need to have any elements of risk at the moment … and if we can close off any of those loopholes it’ll keep everyone safe.”

The young consular staff member is now in quarantine with his wife.

He flew into Maroochydore from Sydney on Friday on Jetstar flight JQ790.

Toowoomba’s Mayor Paul Antonio said he got a fright when he was informed of the positive case.

He said no one should be exempt from hotel quarantine measures.

“Anyone who is traveling to this nation from anywhere regardless of their status, they ought to have to do the same as anybody else,” Cr Antonio said.

“They should have gone into home isolation or isolation of some sort the moment they got to Sydney or the moment they got to Maroochydore.”

But he said he was confident authorities in Toowoomba would manage the case properly.

“This is for real and we have to treat it that way,” he said.

“But I’m absolutely confident the work the medical fraternity have done in Toowoomba and the overarching work that police have been doing, that we in Toowoomba are in a very good position.

“I’m fairly sure that in 14 days’ time, hopefully Toowoomba will have a zero [cases].”

Long wait times for test results

Ms Palaszczuk also called on Queenslanders to continue to come forward for testing.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the long wait times for results were due to the testing blitz prompted by the health alerts last week.

“We are seeing a slight increase in the turnaround time. We will be working today to address that,” Mr Miles said.

Queensland has 12 active cases and 1085 cases in total since the pandemic began. Seven people are being treated in hospital.

All 105 residents at the Bolton Clarke aged-care facility have returned negative results. One of Queensland’s cases last week was linked to a staff member at the home.

-with agencies