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Aged care restrictions may ease as Queensland set to confirm it has dodged a bullet

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Queensland could relax restrictions on aged care homes after recording no new coronavirus cases at the weekend.

 

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The state has collectively been holding its breath ever since two women brought coronavirus back from Victoria, but with community transmission rates having not accelerated in the past fortnight the state may have dodged a bullet.

Health authorities have been on high alert for further infections linked to the “Logan cluster”, with aged care facilities in southeast Queensland locked down for more than two weeks after the cluster spread to include three other people.

However, the state recorded no new infections at the weekend, giving hope restrictions could be lifted.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young last week said if cases remained low on Monday she would consider reopening aged care facilities to visitors.

“Just because we all know that 14 day incubation period and we all know that there are cases — around 20 per cent or so — that don’t get any symptoms, so then you have to wait until they’ve spread it to someone else to be able to pick it up,” Young said.

“So Monday is when I’ll be able to say that I think that we’ve probably — and it’s always a probable unfortunately — probably avoided further cases out of that cluster due to those young women who went down to Melbourne.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk congratulated the state for its efforts, with only 11 active coronavirus cases remaining.

“Another day with no cases of COVID-19 … keep up the great work!” she tweeted on Sunday.

It came as hundreds of partygoers have avoid criminal charges for breaching health measures after attending a beach party in the state’s far north.

Police broke up a gathering of between 200 to 300 people at Wangetti Beach on Saturday and were forced to call for back-up when the crowd turned hostile.

Queenslanders returning home from NSW, Victoria or the ACT must now arrive by air and pay at least $2800 for their two-week stay in hotel quarantine.

The tough new rules follow the premier’s decision to close the border from Saturday to guard against community transmission of coronavirus.

Those who fail to comply could face on-the-spot fines of $1334, court-imposed penalties of up to $13,345 or six months imprisonment.

The two infected Logan women visited schools, shops and restaurants across Logan and Brisbane while they were potentially infectious. Logan Mayor Darren Power said he is relieved the city appears to have dodged a bullet.

“Very relieved and Logan is very relieved for obvious reasons, we were in the headlines for a week or so and it’s something I didn’t like in my city and a lot of residents were feeling very very concerned about what was going on.

“We can rest a little bit easier but at the same time we’ve got to be very, very vigilant to continue the same work that we’re all doing,” he said.

Power said the coronavirus cluster was a scare for his community.

“We had a record amount of testing done, we had all these testing locations happening and I know that people were doing the right thing and getting tested, everyone was very concerned,” he said.

-AAP, additional reporting, Emma Pollard/ABC

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