Three people have died from COVID-19 in Queensland as the state confirms another 23,630 virus cases the day before dumping all domestic border controls.
The latest deaths came after Queensland suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic, bringing the total virus-related fatalities in the state to 21.
“Any death is a tragedy and to experience it during a pandemic is heartbreaking,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Friday.
Two of those who died were in their 70s and one in their 60s, while all were unvaccinated.
The 23,630 virus cases reported in the 24 hours to 6.30am on Friday included 10,182 from rapid tests.
Chief health officer John Gerrard said 589 people were being treated for COVID in the state’s hospitals on Friday. They included 41 in intensive care and 15 on ventilation.
It came as the government prepares to drop all domestic border controls from 1am on Saturday.
Police road border checkpoints will be dismantled and travellers will no longer have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
The government initially planned to ease those restrictions when 90 per cent of eligible Queenslanders had received two vaccine doses.
The latest figures show 91.41 per cent of those eligible have had one jab and 88.18 per cent have received two.
But Dr Gerrard advised the government to make the move earlier because everyone eligible had had enough time to get the jab.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said border police could be redirected to compliance operations, particularly to enforcing the vaccine mandate at venues and events.
“We are still wanting to make sure that only fully vaccinated people are entering those venues and those events that are more likely to see fast transmission happening,” she added.
International travel restrictions will remain until the state hits its 90 per cent vaccination target.
Meanwhile, supermarkets are still struggling to restock with thousands of workers isolating with COVID-19 and even more quarantining as close contacts.
Ms D’Ath said she expected shops and pharmacies would control sales of items such as paracetamol, which are in high demand.
“Because of that, I just tell some people to be sensible,” Ms D’Ath said.
“You don’t need to stockpile boxes and boxes. Think about everyone else who’s coming in, who might be unwell, who need that as well.
“It’s a bit like toilet paper – you don’t need to stock up for six months.”