Queensland cannot remain closed forever due to COVID-19, so when will the authorities reopen borders for all states?
When it comes to COVID-19, the Queensland government is like a proverbial little Dutch boy clogging a leaky barrier.
By keeping state borders closed to Covid-hit states, Prime Minister Anastasia Balachuk is preventing a deluge of infection to give health workers time to double vaccinate all willing Queenslanders.
Meanwhile, educating state residents, who have calmed into a false sense of security with minimal incursions of COVID-19, about the need to rush when it comes to vaccination.
But Queensland cannot remain closed forever.
Once the metaphorical finger is removed – and COVID-19 is allowed to flow freely into the state – this will likely be the most dangerous time Queensland has faced during the pandemic.
The more Queenslanders who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the less likely the stress on the state’s overwhelmed public hospitals will turn into a sick tsunami.
But with 2,056 cases of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the past 20 months – or 1.71 per cent of the Australian total – Queenslanders have been much slower to seize the opportunity to be vaccinated than most. rest of the country.
So when will the Queensland authorities release this metaphorical finger from the leaky barrier and reopen the borders to all states?
It’s a gnawing issue.
Ms Palaszczuk and Health Minister Yvette D’Ath have been filled with questions most of the week, but they are yet to stick to a firm plan.
At some point during Tuesday’s press conference, Ms Balachchuk was asked if the borders would open once 80 per cent of eligible Queenslanders were fully vaccinated.
“Not necessarily,” replied Mrs. Balachchuk.
She went on to explain how they also need to make sure the hospital system can handle the expected influx and that there is a “plan for the kids.”
However, the next day, another factor came into the mix – the booster shot plan.
“We’re following that national plan, part of that plan is the booster buds, so ask the prime minister about the booster shot plan?” Mrs. Palaszczuk said.
On Thursday, the state’s chief health official, Janet Young, said she wanted to “give every Queenslander aged 12 and over the opportunity to get vaccinated,” when asked about thresholds for reopening state borders.
Pressured for details, Dr. Young said she doesn’t think everyone has had the chance yet.
“Once that happens, I think we have a discussion about ‘Is that enough?'” Dr Young said. “
Yesterday, Ms Palaszczuk was asked again: When will Queensland set a date for the reopening of borders?
In what was probably the clearest indicator all week, Ms Balachchuk told the cameras that there is another meeting of the National Cabinet next month – November 5 – and “we hope to be in a position then.”.
“But we will open our doors when it is safe to do so,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“What we are looking at now is looking closely at what is happening in NSW and Victoria – I note that there has been some easing of restrictions in NSW.
Indeed, there was another day of no new community cases in Queensland – and another outbreak appears to have been stamped out – COVID-19 restrictions could be eased yesterday.
Concern about vaccination rates
But the concern is vaccination rates, especially in places not threatened by COVID-19.
Authorities ramped up their language this week – warning that “time is up” and communities with low vaccination rates need to decide if they want their cities to become “ground zero”.
Which raises the question: Couldn’t setting a clear date or timeframe for reopening the state from the Queensland government help encourage people to get vaccinated sooner?
less confident work
The Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIQ) said in a statement that businesses were less confident in the market, citing “ongoing uncertainty and a lack of commitment to a nationally consistent plan to allow businesses in Queensland to recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus.”
Some other states have set clearer guidelines about their plan, including The prime minister of Tasmania who has flagged the island nation will not reopen its borders to the whole country until it reaches 90 percent of its population..
Health workers concern
Health workers in Queensland are expected to get an idea of what’s to come in the next few weeks as lockdown eases in NSW.
If cases of COVID-19 virus infection in NSW rise again, it is likely to significantly affect the Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) as the pandemic virus infiltrates the area south of the Queensland border.
Queensland health workers have expressed concern about a significant outbreak of COVID-19 in northern NSW, where vaccination rates are relatively low and intensive care unit (ICU) beds are hard to find.
Cases requiring an intensive care unit are expected to be moved to GCUH, rather than Sydney.
In the so-called “Fort Queensland”, Plaszczczuk and her government struggle to strike a delicate balance.
They are considering when border restrictions should be lifted to ease pressure on the economy and on businesses in Queensland, but at the same time, protect as many vulnerable and unvaccinated residents as possible from COVID-19 infection and, in some cases, death.
But there will come a point where they have to figuratively remove the finger from the dam.
Clarifying when this is likely to occur is critical.
Download the form…