News Coronavirus Qld, ACT scale back COVID contact tracing

Qld, ACT scale back COVID contact tracing

The ACT has recorded 599 new COVID-19 cases but hospitalisation numbers have risen. Photo: AAP
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Queensland’s COVID-19 check-in app is no longer required for a range of venues, while Canberrans also no longer have to check-in using QR codes to every venue they visit.

The change in Queensland comes as coronavirus case numbers appear to have peaked in the south-east.

“We’re coming down off the peak now, which is fantastic news,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

“Because we’re coming off the peak, we can also announce today that people will not have to use the check-in app any longer. I know that will be welcome news to many places across Queensland.”

Queensland announced another 19 virus-related deaths and 4701 more cases on Monday.

Check-ins will be dumped for places such as supermarkets, shops, hairdressers and gyms. But they will still be used in places where proof of vaccination is required.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the app was an easy way to check vaccination status at venues such as pubs, clubs and cafes.

The partial relaxation was “a huge step forward” for many businesses, Ms D’Ath said.

Hospital numbers continue to decrease in Queensland. It has 663 positive cases in public hospitals, 41 of whom are in ICU.

Of the 19 deaths reported on Monday, all were over 60 and 10 were aged care residents.

Only one had received a booster, and nine were unvaccinated.

There have been a total of 151 deaths in aged care in Queensland since the start of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Queensland children returned to classrooms on Monday, as authorities warned an outbreak in schools was inevitable, but it was unlikely any would be shut.

Face masks are mandatory in high schools in Queensland, and strongly recommended for students in years three-to-six. Schools must also ensure adequate classroom ventilation.

Just under 40 per cent of five-to-11-year-olds in the state have had one vaccine dose.

Elsewhere, the use of a check-in app is also being scaled back in Canberra.

Following a rise in COVID-19 cases in the national capital, and with less reliance on contact tracing, the ACT government said the Check-In CBR app would only be used at high-risk venues.

From Saturday, that means check-ins with the app will be required only at bars and pubs, clubs, nightclubs, strip clubs and brothels, and organised events that aren’t ticketed. Schools will also still be included.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the changes were due to the evolving response to COVID-19 in the ACT.

“We’re in a new phase of our pandemic response and using the Check-In CBR app differently will support those most at risk of exposure, while reducing the requirements placed on other businesses, venues and customers,” she said.

“These changes mean we’re still able to monitor places where our public health team considers there is a high risk of COVID-19 transmission.”

Businesses that aren’t on the list of high-risk locations will no longer be required to display a QR code for check-in at their entrance.

However, they will still be encouraged to display the codes for Canberrans who wanted to record check-ins.

“The app is currently being updated to enable automatic notification of users if they have been at a higher risk setting during a COVID-19 exposure,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“With the automated exposure notification function, Check-In CBR will continue to be a critical tool in our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

More than 1.3 million people have downloaded the ACT app since it was released in September 2020.

– with AAP