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Young hopes border may open to virus-free Victoria by early December


Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young describes Melbourne’s streak of no new coronavirus cases as “exciting” and says she’s “hopeful” the border with Victoria will reopen again at the start of December.

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Today Victoria recorded 11 consecutive days of no COVID-19 infections, raising hopes border restrictions between Queensland and the southern state would be eased to allow unrestricted Christmas travel.

Returning travellers from Victoria are currently required to go into mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.

“I’m sure they’re starting to feel there’s a good chance they’ve eliminated the virus in Melbourne which is really, really exciting,” Young told ABC Radio Brisbane.

“So, hopefully we will be able to open borders to Melbourne and not require any form of quarantine.

“It’s really exciting when we see where Melbourne is.”

Young said a final decision would be made before the end of the month, with any changes to restrictions effective from December 1.

“I would hope [it happens] but I can’t commit to that,” she said.

“I just want to see a little bit longer how they go in Melbourne because they’ve now removed so many of their restrictions, we’ve just got to see if there’s any undetected virus circulating because people will be out and about.

“We just have to give it a little bit longer.”

On November 3, Queensland opened its borders to all states and territories excluding Greater Sydney and Victoria.

It comes as Queensland recorded one new case of coronavirus overnight — a young woman in hotel quarantine who had recently returned from Turkey.

CHO ‘thrilled’ by early vaccine success

If travel restrictions were eased, Young said she still urged the wearing of masks on all flights, even for those within Queensland where there has been 56 days of no community transmission.

“I think it’s very wise to wear masks on planes,” she said.

“I would be [wearing a mask on planes] because there’s more data coming out that planes are quite risky environments.

“So, no matter how little virus we think there might be out in the community, if it gets onto the plane, it takes just one person, so there’s a real risk.”

Young said she was “thrilled” by overnight results of test results of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Incomplete data from drug manufacturer Pfizer showed the vaccine may be 90 per cent effective in stopping transmission of the virus, based on 94 cases.

“I was so thrilled when I saw the results from the Pfizer early trials that we’ve got a vaccine,” Young said. “That’s potentially up to 90 per cent effective, so that will help enormously.

“We might be able to [say COVID-19 is completely gone] when we get the vaccine.”

– ABC / Jason Dasey

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