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Don't throw those face masks away: Premier says fourth Covid wave is here


Queenslanders are being advised to wear face masks in some settings as the state enters its fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Hospitalisations have more than doubled to 205 in the past week, while 73 people have died and 21,761 new cases have been recorded since the beginning of October.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the virus alert level will rise from green to amber on Thursday.

That means face masks are recommended in indoor settings where people can’t socially-distance, healthcare facilities and around older or vulnerable people.

“The fourth wave that we have been expecting, now, we believe, has arrived,” the premier told parliament on Thursday.

“But no one should be alarmed; we have been living with this virus for a long time and Queenslanders know what to do.”

People also being advised to take a rapid antigen test every two days if someone in their household has Covid.

The state government passed laws last month to scale back the CHO’s pandemic powers to order the state’s borders shut, cities locked down or vaccines mandated for the general public.

Gerrard will be able to order Covid-19 cases to isolate and close contacts to quarantine, and mandate face masks and vaccination in health facilities for another 12 months.

People who test positive for Covid-19 need to isolate, and those with symptoms can also be legally ordered quarantine in one place for up to seven days.

Face mask and vaccination mandates remain able to be enforced in hospitals, disability and other high-risk health settings.

The current wave is expected to peak within four to six weeks, with hopes it will be “short and sharp” with the worst passing before Christmas.

Queensland’s vaccination rate remains at 91.5 per cent with Health Minister Yvette D’Ath urging people to book in their booster shots to better protect themselves from infection.

“We know that some of the best protection against this virus comes from ensuring that we are fully up to date with our booster doses,” she told parliament.

Vulnerable Queenslanders may also be eligible to receive Covid-19 antivirus coupled with vaccination, she said.

“This provides significant protection against the virus and provides the best chance of preventing serious illness,” Ms D’Ath said.

“Queenslanders have been put to the test time and time again and each and every time we have prevailed. I’m sure this time will be no different.”

Gerrard said the new wave was expected, and hopefully it would peak in four to six weeks.

“We expect to see waves of this intermediate waves of this type continuing for some months or even longer,” he told reporters.

“We are pretty confident that the peak of the wave will occur prior to Christmas, that’s not the end of the wave but the peak of the wave.

“The shape of this particular wave is difficult to predict … recent experience overseas has suggested that these waves now that there was a lot of immunity in the community might be short and sharp, and we’re hoping that will be the case with this one.”



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