Thu. May 19th, 2022

When it comes to COVID-19, the Queensland government is like the proverbial little Dutch boy with the finger that stops it leaking you.

By keeping state borders closed to COVID-affected states, Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk is holding back a flood of infections to give health professionals time to vaccinate all willing Queenslanders.

And at the same time also to educate the citizens of the state, who have been lulled into a false sense of security with minimal COVID-19 intrusion, about the need for urgent action 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 — it will potentially be the most risky time Queensland has faced during the pandemic.

Patient tsunami?

The more Queenslanders who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the less likely the pressure on the state’s already stretched public hospitals will turn into a patient tsunami.

But with only 2,056 cases of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the last 20 months — or 1.71 percent of the Australian total — Queenslanders have been much slower to use the opportunity for vaccination than they have been. most of the rest of the country.

So when will the Queensland authorities release the metaphorical finger from the leaking you and reopen the borders of all states?

It’s a gnawing problem.

        Dr Jeannette Young Yvette D'Ath, Annastacia Palaszczuk and Steven Miles stand under an 'Exit this way' sign.
There is still concern about vaccination rates in Queensland, especially in places that have not been threatened by COVID-19.(

AAP: Darren England


Mrs Palaszczuk and Health Minister Yvette D’Ath have been spiced up with questions most of the week, but they have not yet committed to a firm plan.

At one point during Tuesday’s press conference, Mrs Palaszczuk was asked if the borders would reopen once 80 per cent of eligible Queenslanders had been fully vaccinated.

“Not necessarily,” replied Mrs. Palaszczuk.

She went on to point out how they should also ensure that the hospital system can cope with the expected influx and that there was a “plan for children”.

But the next day, another factor was thrown into the mix – the plan for booster shots.

“We follow the national plan, part of that plan is the booster shots, so ask the Prime Minister about the plan for the booster shots?” Said Palaszczuk.

Thresholds for reopening?

On Thursday, state health chief Jeannette Young said she wished “every single Queenslander aged 12 or over had been given the chance to be vaccinated” when asked about thresholds for reopening state borders.

The pressure to get more information, said Dr. Young that she did not think everyone had had the chance yet.

“Once that has happened, I think we’ve having the discussion of ‘is that enough?'” Said Dr. Young.

Yesterday, Mrs Palaszczuk was once again asked: when will Queensland set a date for the reopening of borders?

In what was probably the clearest indication all week, Palaszczuk told the cameras that there was another meeting in the national cabinet next month – November 5 – and “we hope to be in a position then”.

“But we open when it is safe to do so,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“What we are looking at now is very close to what is happening in New South Wales and Victoria – I notice that there was some easing of restrictions in New South Wales.

In fact, another day with zero new Community cases in Queensland — and another outbreak apparently lifted — meant that COVID-19 restrictions could be eased yesterday.

Concerns about vaccination rates

But the concern is vaccination rates, especially in places that have not been threatened by COVID-19.

Authorities have stepped up their language this week – warning of “time is up”, and communities with low vaccination rates must decide whether they want their cities to be “ground zero”.

Which begs the question: could not a clear date or time frame for the reopening of the state from the Queensland government possibly also help encourage people to be vaccinated faster?

Blue sign 'Keep calm and get vaccinated' at Gold Coast University Hospital.
Queensland communities with low vaccination rates must decide whether they want their cities to be “ground zero”, authorities say.(

AAP: Nigel Hallett


Business less secure

The Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIQ) said in a statement that companies were less confident in the market, citing “persistent uncertainty and lack of commitment to a nationally consistent plan to enable Queensland companies to recover from the economic consequences of COVID” “.

Some other states have set clearer guidelines for their plan, including Tasmania’s prime minister, who indicated the island state would not reopen its borders to the entire country until it reaches 90 percent of its population doubled.

Healthcare professionals are concerned

Health workers in Queensland are expected to get a sense of what’s coming in the next few weeks when NSW closures ease.

If NSW COVID-19 cases rise again, it is likely to have a major impact on Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) as the pandemic virus infiltrates the region south of the Queensland border.

Health insiders in Queensland have expressed concern over a major COVID-19 outbreak in northern NSW, where vaccination rates are relatively low and intensive care units (ICUs) are difficult to find.

Cases requiring ICU are expected to be transferred to GCUH rather than Sydney.

Main entrance to Gold Coast University Hospital in Southport.
Cases requiring ICU care are expected to be transferred to Gold Coast University Hospital rather than Sydney. (

ABC News: Jennifer Huxley


‘Fortress Queensland’

In the so-called “Fortress of Queensland”, Mrs Palaszczuk and her government are struggling with a delicate balancing act.

They weigh in on when border restrictions should be lifted to ease pressure on the economy and on Queensland businesses, while protecting as many vulnerable and unvaccinated residents from developing COVID-19 and in some cases dying as possible.

But there will come a time when they will have to remove the metaphorical finger from the dike.

Clarity about when this is likely to happen is critical.

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