Scott Morrison and Mark Bailey
Scott Morrison and Mark Bailey

Genuine border concerns: Doctors at odds with PM’s views

QUEENSLAND would be justified in keeping its border closed for another week, if not two, because of a second COVID-19 wave sweeping Victoria, says the country's peak doctors group.

Australian Medical Association's Dr Chris Moy says he's not advocating the Sunshine State remain closed but there are genuine concerns about the outbreak in Victoria which has had more than 150 cases in the past three days.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will announce on Tuesday when the next easing of restrictions will be triggered and possibly when the borders, which have been closed since March, will reopen.

The state has just two active cases and recorded just one positive test in the past week.

It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison says there is no reason Queensland should not open its borders to the rest of the country.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is expected to make an announcement by tomorrow on whether she will follow the road map to a July 10 reopening.

Queensland recorded no new coronavirus cases overnight and has just two active cases.

Mr Morrison said he understood there was an announcement coming soon.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says there is no reason for borders to remain closed. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says there is no reason for borders to remain closed. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch

"I would hope it will confirm the July 10 date. She didn't offer any more on that on Friday (at National Cabinet)," he said.

"I was please to see that both South Australia and Tasmania confirmed their openings.

"I see no reason we can't go ahead with these openings, they should go ahead.

"It's costing jobs in those states and I'm please those states have pressed ahead. I would hope that Annastacia Palaszczuk will do the same thing in Queensland."

There has been an ongoing outbreak in parts of Melbourne, which has caused concern among the states about reopening.

The Northern Territory has announce it will reopen, but require anyone travelling to sign a statutory declaration that they have not travelled through the Melbourne hot spots in the past 28 days - with up to a three year jail penalty for anyone who lies on the document.

The Queensland Government is watching the Victorian situation and it is expected to play heavily into its decision on whether to reopen or not.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is expected to make an announcement on borders before the end of the month. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is expected to make an announcement on borders before the end of the month. Picture: Liam Kidston.

Ms Palaszczuk has been under pressure on the July reopening, which was first forecast in early May, since she declared later the same month the border may not open until September.

She has said she will make a decision on the border reopening, based on medical advice, before the end of this month.

Meanwhile, Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey says people who don't think Queensland could see a second wave of COVID-19 cases should think again.

He labelled state Opposition calls to reopen borders on Wednesday irresponsible.

Mr Bailey today championed a "steady, cautious, evidence-based approach" to the easing of restrictions.

"What we've seen in South Korea, what we've seen in Singapore, and a whole range of other places, when you look at Texas and Florida at the moment in the US, the numbers are still incredibly horrific," he said.

"So if people don't think it's possible for a second wave in Queensland, they need to think again.

Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey
Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey

 

"This virus is potent.

"It only needs a small number of people to be doing the wrong thing for it to spread very quickly and that's why we've got to be resolute around making smart decisions based on evidence, based on health advice.

"And ultimately that will be the fastest way for our economy to recover because a second wave will mean it puts the whole thing back.

"You've got to put restrictions back in and it prolongs the whole thing."

Responding to calls from the LNP to reopen the borders on Wednesday, Mr Bailey said Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington was irresponsible and had shown poor judgment when it came to protecting Queenslanders' health.

"We've been hard-line, and that's the key reason why we're the best-performing state in response to the pandemic," Mr Bailey said.

"There's only way out of this and that's a steady, cautious, evidence-based approach to lifting restrictions very carefully so we don't cause increases in infections and cause a second wave.

"That is actually the fastest way out of this pandemic."

He said the best thing for the economy was the best thing for people's health.


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