Annastacia Palaszczuk has urged Queenslanders to get vaccinated within the next 11 days because a ‘storm is coming’.
The premier said the state’s vaccination rate in regional areas needed to be lifted before the state reopened on December 17 to avoid serious cases.
‘I can’t look after you if you won’t hop in the lifeboat,’ she said at a press conference in Maryborough on Wednesday.
‘We need everyone to get on the lifeboat and we’ll be protected. We have 11 days to go to get everyone vaccinated.’
Ms Palaszczuk followed up on Twitter: ‘You can’t be saved if you don’t get on the lifeboat.’
‘The storm is coming, we need to be prepared … I can’t help you unless you’re on the lifeboat,’ Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said
Patients wait in a holding area after receiving their Covid-19 vaccine at pop-up clinic at Bunnings Mt Gravatt in Brisbane
The deadline refers to the six weeks needed for a person to receive a second dose of Covid vaccine and be fully protected in time for Queensland’s reopening to all interstate visitors on December 17.
The state is expected to have 70 per cent of residents 16 and over vaccinated by November 19, and 80 per cent on December 17.
Ms Palaszczuk said 72.81 per cent of Queenslanders had received a first dose of vaccine and 57.45 per cent were fully vaccinated.
She was in Maryborough as part of her government’s push in the state’s regions to lift vaccination rates but also to announce a $7 billion investment in the city’s train manufacturing industry.
‘The storm is coming, we need to be prepared… I can’t help you unless you’re on the lifeboat,’ she said.
Queensland will begin a phased reopening once it reaches 70 per cent of its eligible population fully vaccinated on November 19, with a full reopening when the 80 per cent target is reached on December 17
Both Ms Palaszczuk and chief health officer Jeannette Young issued increasingly panicked-sounding warnings about the number of Covid cases rising dramatically in Queensland once the state’s border controls are lifted.
They said modelling showed a worst case scenario of up to 1,200 Covid cases a day in the state towards the end of next year.
Dr John Gerrard, the head of infectious diseases at Gold Coast University Hospital, also predicted up to 16,000 serious Covid cases would rip through Queensland when borders are opened in December.
‘On the Gold Coast… we are projecting perhaps between 4000 and 16,000 symptomatic cases in the first wave,’ he told A Current Affair.
‘We know that it’s the vaccine-hesitant, the people who aren’t getting vaccinated now, who will have a big impact on other people who are trying to access hospital services in the coming weeks and months.’
Ms Palaszczuk said 72.81 per cent of Queenslanders had received a first dose of vaccine and 57.45 per cent were now fully vaccinated
On Wednesday, Dr Young confirmed that if a Covid case was detected in the state once it reopened, they would likely be able to home quarantine in a ‘virtual ward’ if they were fully vaccinated.
‘They would be managed in a virtual ward and everyone else in that home will be a primary contact… they will have to quarantine for 14 days.
‘But the risk of the risk of you and your family having to quarantine is much. much less if you’ve been vaccinated.’
Dr Young said overseas arrivals into the state would need to continue to do 14 days quarantine after December 17 until the federal government decided the country they arrived from was not a risk.
‘The Commonwealth is responsible for doing that. It assesses countries from around the world all the time and once they assess the risk as being less, then we will assess those risks for Queensland,’ she said.
She also announced Queensland would allow ‘green flights’ from the South Island of New Zealand once more, but not those who had visited the North Island in the past 14 days.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young confirmed that if a positive case were detected in the state once it reopened, they would likely be able to home quarantine in a ‘virtual ward’ if they were fully vaccinated
Queenslanders are not yet permitted to travel to New Zealand.
Dr Young said Queensland’s hospitals were prepared for an upsurge in Covid cases once the state reopened, but that they would be under stress.
‘They will need to make decisions. If you’re in one of our communities still down at 50 per cent [vaccination] and it didn’t improve, and the virus gets into that town, and it will, and lead to a large number of cases then the hospital will have to make choices,’ she said.
‘They’ll need to decide, do they need to delay elective surgery or elective outpatients.
‘With up to 90 per cent vaccination, those choices don’t need to be made.’
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed on Wednesday morning that more than 70 per cent of Australia’s population over 16 were vaccinated.