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Australia: Queensland records another 10 deaths from COVID-19, outbreak peak 'could be a few days' away, CHO says

Queensland opens up as state records 14,914 Covid cases

  Queensland opens up as state records 14,914 Covid cases All domestic border restrictions will be removed in Queensland after the state suffered 14,914 new Covid cases and six deaths.Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that as of 1am on Saturday the rules around entering the state would be lifted for domestic travellers with restrictions on hot spots no longer applying.

Dr John Gerrard says the state has recorded another 15,050 cases of COVID-19. (ABC News: Michael Lloyd) © Provided by ABC Health Dr John Gerrard says the state has recorded another 15,050 cases of COVID-19. (ABC News: Michael Lloyd)

Queensland has recorded 10 new COVID-19 deaths, with 884 people in hospital being treated for COVID symptoms.

Hospitalisations include 52 people in an intensive care unit and 18 on ventilators.

Of the deaths, one person was in their 40s, one in their 50s, six in their 80s, and two in their 90s.

One person was unvaccinated, six were double vaccinated, and three had received a booster.

Queensland Chief Officer John Gerrard said the state had recorded another 15,050 cases.

Dr Gerrard said it was clear the COVID-19 wave had peaked in New South Wales, which he called "perhaps the most positive news in the past 24 hours".

Queensland border checkpoints torn down after two years

  Queensland border checkpoints torn down after two years As of midnight (1am AEDT), the Sunshine State is re-opened, without any restrictions for domestic travellers entering the state, either by road or by air. They will no longer need to show a border pass or a rapid antigen test. However, the government will maintain a mandate requiring people to be fully vaccinated to be able to enter events and venues.Acting Chief Superintendent Rhys Wildman was at the checkpoint as it was torn down overnight and said this is "an incredible outcome".

"We're about two weeks behind NSW — it could be as early as sometime this week that the pandemic could peak at the Gold Coast; metropolitan Brisbane could be a few days or a week behind that," he said.

Dr Gerrard added Queensland's peak would not be uniform across the state and would likely start in the Gold Coast, then Brisbane and regional centres.

Dr Gerrard said he could also not rule out a second peak.

"We will always plan for the worst and hope for the best, so it is conceivable that there might be another wave in the wintertime as the weather becomes cooler," he said.

"There may or may not — but we don't know that — we are certainly planning for that in Queensland Health, even though it may not happen."

Queensland cases 'almost certainly greater than a million'

There have been 250,000 COVID cases in Queensland since domestic borders reopened, but Dr Gerrard said the real figure could be four times that number.

Torres and Cape disaster management groups call for rapid testing of people entering communities

  Torres and Cape disaster management groups call for rapid testing of people entering communities Torres Strait Islands leaders call for COVID rapid testing of essential workers and travellers coming to the region as virus cases rise.The requests were rejected, and the groups were told the government had "no appetite" for lockouts.

"It's almost certainly greater than a million — we don't know the true number because not everybody is getting tested — either because their symptoms are mild, they don't recognise the symptoms, they don't seek to get tested or they can't get access to a test," Dr Gerrard said.

Dr Gerrard reminded people that COVID would still be very active in the community after the peak in cases.

"What will then happen over the ensuing weeks is that the number of cases are likely to fall at about the same rate as it has risen," he said.

"Although, a slight caveat on that is that with the opening of schools — there's likely to be some more transmission associated with it with the return to school."

School delay a 'very sound' decision

Queensland's school term has been delayed by two weeks in order to avoid clashing with the peak in COVID cases.

Dr Gerrard said the confirmation of when the peak would hit had solidified the decision to push back the commencement of classes.

Three COVID deaths in Queensland, with 670 patients in hospital

  Three COVID deaths in Queensland, with 670 patients in hospital Queensland records three COVID-19 deaths in the last day, with 670 patients currently in hospital with the disease and 49 of those in intensive care. Of those in ICU, 16 are on ventilators.There were 17,445 cases of COVID recorded overnight, with 4,615 of those detected via rapid antigen test (RAT).Deputy Premier Steven Miles said 670 beds was the equivalent of a major teaching hospital.One of the people who died with COVID was aged 103, while the others were in their 80s and 60s.Twenty-nine people have now died of the virus in Queensland.The state now has 203,657 active cases, with 42,420 tests carried out yesterday.

"It affirms the decision to delay the opening of schools until after the predicted peak, which was exactly when the schools were going to open," he said.

"Schools were going to open next week, which is when we expect Gold Coast to peak and then Brisbane shortly thereafter, so I am very confident that the decision to delay the schools opening by two weeks was a very sound public health measure."

International flights arrive in Queensland

From today, fully vaccinated travellers can enter Queensland without having to quarantine.

They instead need to take a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of arrival.

The first international flight into Brisbane landed after 9:00am.

Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said easing quarantine requirements for international travel would help to strengthen the state's economy.

"We'll see over the next week, flights into all of our international airports throughout Queensland, receiving passengers and seeing them reuniting with family or getting back to their studies or getting to work," Mr Hinchliffe said.

"Hopefully soon we'll see a lot more tourists, making sure that we can see this as the real light at the end of the tunnel for the Queensland $6 billion tourism industry.

"But most importantly, I'm very focused today on welcoming those — particularly on that first Singapore Airlines Flight — welcoming those people who come in and might be students, some of the 30,000 people enrolled in Queensland universities institutions who can return to face-to-face studies."

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Unvaccinated patient in 30s dies of Covid as Queensland cases dip .
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced 18 Covid-related deaths in the state, including an unvaccinated person aged in their 30s. New Covid cases in Queensland fell to 9,974 and hospitalisations were down to 818 people, with 54 people now in ICU.Ms Palaszczuk said the state appeared to have avoided the worst of the health department's earlier modelling, including more than 500 people in ICU units'We were planning for the worst case scenario,' she said. 'It's absolutely heartening to date that the modelling is below our worst case scenario.

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