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Queensland's deadliest day: Pandemic toll almost doubles in one grim swoop

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Queensland has recorded the deadliest day of the COVID-19 pandemic so far, recording six deaths, and 14,914 new cases of the virus.

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The death toll is just one short of the total number of seven Queenslanders who have previously died since the pandemic started two years ago.

It comes as case numbers in New South Wales exploded to 92,264 on Thursday and 37,169 in Victoria and as Queensland announced all domestic border restrictions would end next week.

A grim-faced Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the deaths of the six people, aged in their 70s to 90s, shortly before attending a National Cabinet meeting to discuss the unfolding Omicron crisis which is now sweeping the country and stripping supermarket shelves bare.

“During the whole two years of the pandemic we have lost seven people. To lose six in one day is a big shock and our thoughts are with the people at the moment. It is quite upsetting,” Palaszczuk said, flanked by the State’s health and police chiefs.

“Tragically it is a very sad duty for me to report that we have lost six people overnight. That is the highest number of people that Queenslanders have lost during the pandemic,” she said.

Expressing her deepest sympathies to the families of those who had passed away, Palaszczuk said those lost were grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts.

Of those who died, two were in their 70s, three in their 80s and one was aged over 90 years.

Chief health officer, Dr John Gerrard, said all had significant underlying medical conditions. Three were in residential aged care, five were double-vaccinated and one was unvaccinated. None had yet received a booster shot.

Gerrard said at the time of the deaths, one or two were in hospital and three were in aged care.

On Thursday, Queensland had 556 people in hospital with CVOID-19, 26 in intensive care and 10 these are on ventilators.

Palaszczuk urged seniors to limit their movements during the current Omicron wave which has now infected tens of thousands of people across the State and the country.

And she announced that the State would hit the 90 per cent double vaccinated target at the end of next week.

Given this, the physical border closures, manned by police, will come down at 1am on Saturday.

The barricades will come down and the police will return to frontline policing duties.

Palaszczuk said the decision was based on advice from the chief health officer who had advised on Thursday morning that the Omicron spread down the east coast meant the physical border closures were no longer necessary.

“Now is the time for the barricades to come down and for the police to come home,” Palaszczuk said.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath also urged Queenslanders to “be sensible” and not to strip shelves bare of paracetamol. D’Ath said she had heard stories of outlets being cleaned out.

“I just ask people to be sensible. You don’t need to stockpile boxes and boxes. Think about everyone else … just be sensible about this,” D’Ath said.

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