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With just two infections, Lifeline becomes the front-line for virus crisis

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Only two more people have tested positive to coronavirus in Queensland but a more worrying concern is the number of people reaching out for help while the state is in lockdown.

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Lifeline, which assists people experiencing a personal crisis, has received an “unprecedented” 24,000 calls a week in recent times.

Palaszczuk committed $3.5 million in funding to assist Lifeline and a further $1 million to Legacy which assists the families of those who have served with defence.

Lifeline recorded its highest monthly total of calls in the organisation’s 56-year history in March.

“Many are facing circumstances they could never have envisaged they’d be in,” Lifeline executive Brent McCracken said.

“Many are feeling their life is becoming worthless.”

Palaszczuk’s funding announcement came after the state’s total of COVID-19 cases rose to 1026 after two more positive tests overnight.

Of those, 20 are in hospital, seven are in intensive care, with six on ventilators.

“We are seeing this flattening of the curve but we need to keep this up for the next couple of weeks,” Palaszczuk said.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said even though there had only been eight positive tests in the past four days there was still no plan to relax social distancing measures.

“We know we could rapidly unravel were we to change what we are doing in a way that didn’t continue to maintain those restrictions,” Young said.

She said that even though South Australia was urging parents to send children to school, Queensland was not yet in a position to follow suit.

“South Australia has seen fewer cases than we have seen in Queensland,” she said.

She said they were looking at what restrictions could be lifted or eased and made comparisons with Queensland’s low number of cases compared to US and Europe, where deaths are in the thousands.

“Look at what is happening in America, that is tragic,” she said

“Because of all the hard work that’s been done by every Queenslander in this state…we then have the luxury of what we can do going forward.”

Overnight, Queensland passed laws to protect families and business owners who can’t pay their rent due to the coronavirus crisis from eviction.

Under the laws, landlords will be forced to abide by a six-month moratorium on eviction if tenants can prove their income has plunged.

They also provide protection for commercial tenants.

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