Commissioner Katarina Carroll (Photo: QPS)

December 19, 2021

Authorities have generally been pleased with public compliance to the health directives which came into force on Friday and Saturday, but there have been exceptions – including in Murgon.

Commissioner Katarina Carroll told the Sunday morning media briefing things were going “extraordinarily well” but disappointingly some people at various locations across Queensland have become quite aggressive and abusive towards staff, security officers and police.

As a result they have been either been fined or arrested.

In Murgon, a 53-year-old man entered a hotel without being fully vaccinated.

Commissioner Carroll said the man continued to abuse staff.

Police were called and removed the man from the hotel. He was subsequently fined.

* * *

There were 42 new COVID-19 cases announced in Queensland on Sunday morning, taking the Queensland total of active cases to 142.

Fifty-seven of these cases are in hospital.

Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said all the new cases, except one, have minimal symptoms; the one woman who has more significant symptoms was unvaccinated.

He said the Omicron strain was quickly becoming dominant in Queensland, much more rapidly than predicted; 21 out of the last 25 tested viruses were Omicron.

But there was some good news, although qualified.

“At this stage, it appears that the vaccine is very effective in preventing severe disease,” Dr Gerrard said.

“Most of the patients that we have seen who have had the Omicron strain who are vaccinated have very mild symptoms.”

But he warned that more information was still required, particularly from overseas.

And he said protective measures were still necessary to allow vulnerable people who are more at risk to get their booster shots.

* * *

Queensland Health has issued a public health alert for four new COVID-19 contact tracing locations in the Toowoomba region.

They are:

  • Toowoomba Plaza toilets, 878 Ruthven St, Kearneys Spring – Monday, December 13, 11:25am-11:30am (casual contact)
  • Drakes Toowoomba, High St and Meibusch St, Rangeville – Monday, December 13, 11:30am-11:40am (casual contact)
  • The Empire Theatre, 54-56 Neil Street, Toowoomba – Wednesday, December 15, noon-4:00pm (casual contact)
  • Milk and Honey Espresso Bar, 6 Ann St, Toowoomba City –  Thursday, December 16, 10:00am-12:15pm (close contact)

There are now more than 390 exposure sites listed on the Queensland Health website (between December 5-19).

New exposure sites also include some hospital wards, where some health workers have tested positive.

A Queensland Health spokesperson said all hospitals and health services have plans in place to manage expected COVID-19 cases in their facilities.

“A reminder for all Queenslanders, no matter where you live – if you have any COVID-19 symptoms at any time, no matter how mild, you should immediately get tested,”  the spokesperson said.

“Now more than ever, it is essential to get vaccinated and to continue to use the Check In Qld app at every location you visit.”

External links: 

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In NSW, 2566 COVID-19 cases were reported on Sunday, taking the five-day tally to more than 10,000. There are now 14,050 active cases in NSW.

In Victoria, 1240 new cases were reported; there are 13,093 active cases including 81 in ICU and 41 on ventilators.

Across Australia, there are 717 COVID-19 cases in hospital, including 110 in ICU.

In Europe, the lightning fast spread of the Omicron variant is ringing alarm bells.

The Netherlands has gone into lockdown with non-essential stores, bars and restaurants closed until mid-January.

In the UK, official concern about the potential for the climbing number of cases to overwhelm the National Health System has led to London declaring a major incident.

Officials believe that although fewer people appear at this stage to be getting critically ill, the simple fact that more people are catching the Omicron variant means there will be a greater number of cases ending up in hospital.

Travel restrictions have been tightened in France, Cyprus and Austria. Denmark has closed theatres, concert halls, amusement parks and museums.

Ireland has imposed a curfew on pubs and limited attendance at indoor and outdoor events.

[UPDATED]


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