Queensland’s Covid cases skyrocketed to 18,000 on Sunday as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the school year would be delayed an extra two weeks.
The state’s health department confirmed there are now 402 people in hospital fighting Covid, with 22 in intensive care and five on ventilators.
The new figure comes as QLD have started including rapid antigen results in daily numbers.
Ms Palaszczuk also confirmed the new school year would be pushed back two weeks to February 7 as concerns mount over sending children back to the classrooms.
‘The projections are at the moment that NSW and Victoria will reach their peaks before Queensland,’ she said
‘Queensland will face its biggest test over the next two weeks.’
Queensland ‘s Covid cases skyrocketed to 18,000 on Sunday as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the school year would be delayed an extra two weeks
Ms Palaszczuk also confirmed the new school year would be pushed back two weeks to February 7 as concerns mount over sending children back to the classrooms
Ms Palaszczuk called an emergency state disaster meeting on Sunday to discuss the damage done by wild storms that have thrashed the state this week, as well as QLD’s response to increasing infections.
Schools will remain open from January 24 as originally planned but only for vulnerable kids or children of essential workers.
‘It’s sensible and reasonable to keep kids home from school during this time,’ the premier said.
‘Delaying the start of school is a common sense measure which is particularly important for 5 to 11-year-olds who will be eligible to be vaccinated from tomorrow (10 January).’
Teachers will remain under full pay in the extended period classes are delayed.
Ms Palaszczuk said cases are set to peak over the two-week period at the end of January and the start of February.
Remote learning will begin for Year 11 and 12 students from January 31.
Education Minister Grace Grace said the decision was a regrettable one and they would have ‘loved nothing more than to have face-to-face learning’ but the government couldn’t justify sending kids back.
She also refused to rule out further delays.
‘I don’t think there’s guarantees now for anything,’ she said.
Ms Palaszczuk called an emergency state disaster meeting on Sunday to discuss the damage done by wild storms that have thrashed the state this week
The state confirmed there are now 402 people in hospital fighting Covid, with 22 in intensive care and five on ventilators
It is the fourth consecutive day the state has recorded new infections north of 10,000, largely due to the online reporting of positive RAT tests.
Victorian began including its rapid tests in daily figures on Saturday, with cases rising from 21,728 to 51,356 as a result.
‘Queensland Health will use your information for outbreak control and contact tracing use,’ the state’s health body says on its website.
‘We won’t use your information for any other purpose unless authorised by law.’
There were 4,320 positive RAT results included in today’s statistics.
It is the fourth consecutive day QLD has recorded new infections north of 10,000, largely due to the online reporting of positive RAT tests
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said all critical workers are allowed to leave isolation to work if they are asymptomatic, test negative, are vaccinated and leave via private transport.
She designated health, teachers, freight and logistics, utility, agriculture and fishery workers as ‘critical’ employees.
‘I’m sure employers will be working with their staff to ensure that only those who are able to come to work, who meet the criteria, who are close contacts, come to work,’ Ms D’Ath said.
The health minister said businesses have to inform officials of their list of critical workers so they can keep track of the potential spread of the virus, but the demand for stock in supermarkets meant allowing people to work was crucial.
‘Those businesses will have to submit to government the list of critical essential workers. It doesn’t need an approval process and they do not need to wait until they’ve sent us that list to start operating,’ she said.
‘We have empty shelves in supermarkets right now because of the number of people in the community who are positive, but importantly, how many people have to quarantine because they are a close contact.’
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said all critical workers are allowed to leave isolation to work if they are asymptomatic, test negative, are vaccinated and leave via private transport
New South Wales recorded 16 Covid-related deaths overnight as new cases drop to 30,062 with a further 44,155 identified in Victoria.
While cases appear to have significantly dropped in both states, true numbers are likely far higher than what is being reported, particularly in NSW where the results of rapid antigen tests are not yet included in tallies.
In NSW, just 98,986 people got tested on Saturday with 83,993 in Victoria, compared to 116,915 and 89,513 a day earlier.
Cases in Victoria more than doubled this weekend after residents were given the ability to lodge the positive results they received on the at-home testing kits.
For many young people across the nation, it’s been ‘business as usual’ as they enjoy the holiday period
It is expected NSW will have a similar experience from Wednesday, when residents are encouraged to upload their positive at-home result to Service NSW. Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said on Friday even then, cases are likely to remain ‘underestimates’.
Premier Dominic Perrottet revealed on Sunday he’d doubled his order of urgent rapid antigen tests to 100 million to alleviate the burden on the public health system.
The tests – some of which will arrive this week – will be distributed to essential workers and vulnerable communities.
‘This will ensure supplies are provided to the most vulnerable in our community, and ensure they have immediate access to support and health advice as needed,’ the premier told Sunday Telegraph.
‘It will also provide greater confidence to businesses and the community.’
Covid is now so widespread doctors in at least three hospitals in NSW are reportedly treating every patient as if they have the virus even if they have tested negative
Further details of the deal are expected to be shared later on Sunday.
As of Sunday, there are 1,927 people being treated in NSW hospitals for Covid across the state, with 151 in ICU.
Daily new cases dropped 33 per cent overnight, but testing rates are also dropping amid clinic closures and hours-long wait times.
Meanwhile in Victoria, 752 Covid patients are in hospital with 104 in intensive care, 23 of whom require ventilation. Four people died overnight with the virus.
There were 14 per cent less cases recorded on Sunday than a day earlier, when cases peaked at 51,356.
Of the 44,155 new cases in Victoria on Sunday, 22,051 were identified via at-home rapid antigen kits, offering a sense of what to expect for the government of NSW when RATs are counted in official figures in NSW from Wednesday.
Covid is now so widespread doctors in at least three hospitals in NSW are reportedly treating every patient as if they have the virus even if they have tested negative.