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Tragic toll: Queensland's 56 deaths this week, but Premier warns worst lies ahead

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Queensland has recorded 13 more COVID-19 deaths and the State has been warned the worst is yet to come.

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The stark wawrning comes as the State Government announced the waiting time for a booster shot will be slashed to three months.

And the State’s health boss said that without Queensland’s high vaccination rate – now sitting at 89 per cent of the population double dosed – there would be thousands hospitalised with the virus and the health system would be overwhelmed.

Queensland on Friday recorded 16,031 new cases of COVID-19, slightly down on the previous day and 13 new deaths. Of those who lost their lives, two were in their 60s, five in their 70s, five in their 80s and one in their 90s.

Two were unvaccinated, one had received a single dose, eight were double dosed and only one had received a booster shot. On Friday, there were 855 people in hospital with the virus, 54 in intensive care and 22 on ventilators.

NSW on Friday passed a grim milestone with its 1000th Covid death and a leading epidemiologist warned that state’s plateauing case numbers won’t be reflected in its death toll for some time.

NSW reported 25,168 new cases and 46 deaths on Friday, a new deadliest day of the pandemic that brings the NSW death toll to 1024.

More than a quarter of the deaths have occurred in the last two weeks, during which 324 people died with COVID-19.

Victoria has recorded 18,167 new COVID-19 cases and 20 deaths, as a four-day booster vaccine blitz gets underway at eight state-run hubs.

It takes the total number of active cases in the state to 252,399, up by 5505. However, hospital figures have dropped by 110 to 1096, ahead of the state’s expected peak during the Omicron wave.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that from Monday, the waiting period for a booster shot will be reduced from four months to three months after the second vaccination dose.

So far, almost 1.1 million Queenslanders have received booster shot or 62 per cent of the eligible population.

Palaszczuk said that while current hospitalisation rates were lower than expected, the peak of the Omicron wave had yet to be reached. And she had an ominous warning for the State for what’s ahead.

“I want to brace Queenslanders for the fact that things are going to get worse before they get better,” the Premier said.

And she reiterated her warning for the vulnerable and elderly in the community, particularly those who have yet to have a booster shot, to limit their movements for the next few weeks.

“I am asking people to think very carefully, if you are senior member of our community, please think about where you are going, if you need to go into a large crowded situation,” the Premier said.

She said she was not telling them not to see their families or do their shopping but to limit going into crowded areas.

Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said the State’s vaccination program had saved thousands from serious illness.

“Were it not for the wide scale vaccination of Queenslanders today we would not be taking about 855 people in hospital … we would be talking about thousands of people in hospital and almost certainly our hospital system would be overwhelmed by now.”

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