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Lockdown-weary Qlders warned the only way to get out is to stay at home

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Queensland’s biggest COVID-19 outbreak since the first wave in 2020 is expected to grow as the state’s southeast aims to emerge from lockdown in four days’ time.

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The cluster centred in Brisbane’s western suburbs is currently at 63 cases after another 16 were added on Wednesday.

Daily case numbers have only increased since the lockdown came into effect last Saturday, but authorities are hopeful of lifting those restrictions by the end of the weekend.

They are pleading with Queenslanders from the Gold Coast to Noosa to only go out for essential items, and even consider limiting online shopping.

“If we don’t do something really, really special in Queensland, we’ll be extending the lockdown, so please … try your absolute hardest to stay at home,” Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said on Wednesday.

Young asked people to delay online and “click and collect” shopping for non-essential items until the lockdown lifts in a bid to further prevent movement on the streets.

“Do you need those people out in the community, delivering packages?” she said.

The comments were criticised as “removed from reality” by online fashion retailer Fleur Richardson.

“What Jeanette Young is really saying is stop the economy,” she said.

“”We are very conscious as employers about how many families we feed and so we are putting the wellbeing of our employees first.”

There are now almost 200 COVID-19 exposure sites for close and casual contact across southeast, central and far north Queensland.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles reiterated the message to stay put unless locked down residents “absolutely” needed to do essential shopping or receive health care.

“Five more days, do the right thing, and then next week you can buy all the sun lounges you think you need,” he said on Wednesday.

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