News Queensland ‘No risk’ from latest Queensland COVID case
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‘No risk’ from latest Queensland COVID case

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Annastacia Palaszczuk says the brother of a girl, 4, who has COVID-19 has also tested positive.
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The brother of a four-year-old girl who has COVID-19 has also tested positive in Queensland, but authorities believe the risk to the community is low.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the boy’s positive result came after a total of 13,516 tests conducted in Queensland in the 24 hours to 6.30am on Thursday.

He caught the virus from his four-year-old sister in home quarantine, with both cases linked to the Beenleigh cluster centred on a school, a daycare centre and a shopping centre south of Brisbane.

“So absolutely no concerns about that,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Thursday.

Chief health officer Jeannette Young said the boy posed no risk to the community because he had been in home quarantine throughout his infectious period.

Another 99 families linked to the Beenleigh cluster, which has risen to four cases, are still in home quarantine.

“There is no risk here at all because of the work by those 100 families, and our contact tracers getting hold of them all and getting them quickly into quarantine,” Dr Young said.

Ms Palaszczuk has also suggested border bubble travel arrangements will return for communities such as Tweed Heads-Coolangatta after NSW lifts its regional lockdown.

A special exemption allowing locals on both sides of the border to work, go to school or university, obtain healthcare or to provide care has been on hold since July 23.

At present, only certain essential workers who have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine are allowed to cross into Queensland from NSW.

Ms Palaszczuk said an easing of border controls could be imminent once lockdown restrictions lift in some NSW border communities from Saturday.

“We stand ready to respond,” she said.

She also indicated that more staff could be hired to work in the exemptions unit, which assesses whether people who are not essential workers are allowed into Queensland’s hotel quarantine on medical or compassionate grounds.

The government has been criticised numerous times for failing to give people interstate exemptions to be with dying relatives in Queensland, and for stranding its own residents interstate.

Ms Palaszczuk said the exemptions unit was trying to show people compassion while keeping the virus out of Queensland. But she admitted more could be done including hiring more staff in the exemptions unit.

“It’s a balancing act,” she said.

“I’ve spoken with the health minister, I’ve spoken with the D-G, and the director-general is under no illusions that I expect there to be more done in this area, and if we need more people, we will get more people.”

Meanwhile, Queensland Health delivered 23,889 vaccine doses on Wednesday, with 54.28 per cent of eligible Queenslanders having had one dose and 35.81 per cent fully vaccinated.

The Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton vaccine clinics are now accepting walk-ins.

Education Minister Grace Grace said there were no plans yet to make vaccinations mandatory for teachers.

“At this stage, we will take the health advice, and the health advice is saying prioritise school staff and early childhood educators, but not for it to be currently mandatory,” she said in Cairns.

“We will always abide by the health advice, and that hasn’t come through just yet.”

-AAP