November 10, 2022
Queensland’s COVID-19 emergency status will lift to “Amber” on Friday after a doubling of hospital patients in the State during the past week.
Queensland has recorded 73 deaths and 21,761 new cases since the beginning of October.
The “Amber” level means people have been requested to wear a face mask in healthcare settings; indoors when they cannot socially distance; on public transport; if they are older, immunocompromised or have other health issues; or if they are around people who are vulnerable to COVID-19.
Close contacts will also be advised to take a rapid antigen test (RAT) every two days
However, these “requests” are not “mandates”.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said there were 203 COVID-19 patients in Queensland hospitals this Thursday, compared with 105 last week.
There had also been a 58 per cent rise in the number of active cases in the past week.
Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said the alert would only be raised to the stricter “Red” level if hospitals were being “significantly challenged” by COVID-19 numbers.
The fourth wave of the Omicron variant has led to an increase in cases across Australia.
Professor Adrian Esterman, Chair of Biostatistics at the University of South Australia, said the latest outbreak had several causes.
“The first is waning immunity. Many people have had their last dose of vaccine over six months ago, and by now have comparatively little protection against symptomatic disease,” Prof Esterman said.
“At the same time, we have little or no public health measures in place to put a brake on transmission.
“The removal of mandatory isolation for infectious people just as new subvariants were on the horizon really was a poor decision.
“These new subvariants are more transmissible than BA.5. They include BA.2.75, BQ.1 and XBB.
“They are better than BA.5 at getting around our immune systems, and this means that even fully vaccinated people – or those who have recovered from an infection – are at higher risk of infection.”
Prof Esterman emphasised it was not just a Queensland problem.
“We are seeing this new wave happening across the country,” he said.
“As of last week, the Effective Reproduction Number for Australia was 1.11, representing a 23-day doubling time for case numbers, just in time for Christmas!
“ATAGI is coming under increasing pressure to allow a fifth dose to vulnerable people.
“The onus is now on the other States and Territories to follow Queensland’s lead and upgrade their health advice, and if necessary, reimpose some public health measures, like face mask advice.
“Surely, mandating face masks on public transport is not that difficult!”
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