Coronavirus won’t close Queensland schools tomorrow, but police will check on those who self-isolate

Coronavirus won't close Queensland schools tomorrow, but police will check on those who self-isolate

Updated

March 15, 2020 18:20:51


Photo:

The Education Department says it is following the advice of health experts. (AAP: Paul Miller)

People in Queensland who have been told to self-isolate for reasons related to coronavirus will be fined $13,000 if they don’t comply, the state’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says.

Key points:

Police will conduct random checks on people in Queensland who are self-isolating due to coronavirusThe state has confirmed 61 cases of coronavirus, up from 46 cases yesterdayTreasurer Jackie Trad is forecasting a multi-billion-dollar shock to Queensland’s economy

More than 3,000 people have gone into home quarantine in Queensland so far, even before the new national self-isolation requirements take effect tonight.

Ms Palaszczuk said there would also be random police checks.

She also echoed the Prime Minister’s call for people not to shake hands, hug or kiss.

Queensland now has 61 cases of COVID-19, up from 46 yesterday, but the Education Minister, Grace Grace, confirmed schools would remain open tomorrow.

Ms Grace told the ABC the decision was based on advice from the chief medical officer.

“If there is a need to close individual schools [over COVID-19], these decisions will be made quickly, based on further advice from health experts,” she said.

“As in other disaster and emergency management events, the department has online learning materials and virtual classroom capability that can be used by schools where appropriate to support sustained curriculum delivery.

“When it is safe to reopen those schools, they will be reopened.

“The department will be providing schools with further advice regarding the need for large gatherings such as large assemblies, fetes and sports carnivals.”

Ms Palaszczuk said there is no need for students to stop going to school.

“If everyone stopped going to school, that would put pressure on our health system because our health workers would be at home,” she said

“But also, we don’t want to see children placed with their grandparents as well, the most vulnerable in our community.”

Queensland has so far confirmed 61 cases of COVD-19.

The Federal Government wants all mass gatherings of more than 500 people to be suspended from Monday, but that does not include schools, universities, public transport and airports.

Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad declined to say if the State Government would push for university and school closures ahead of a “national cabinet” meeting of state and federal leaders today to tackle the public health crisis.

But she said “nothing is off the table”.

“Of course we have seen other premiers of Australia articulate that school closures are inevitable.

“In fact a number of schools have already taken that precautionary measure as students or parents have tested positive to COVID-19.”

Queensland set for economic shock

Ms Trad said the COVID-19 pandemic would create a multi-billion-dollar economic shock in the state, with the Palaszczuk Government revising its looming budget to try to cushion the blow.

She said “constantly evolving” events meant Treasury’s original estimate of up to $1.7 billion was already outdated.

“We know we’re bracing for a very rocky ride here,” she said.

She said the Government was looking at “additional measures” in the State Budget on April 28, which would be “absolutely focused on bouncing back from COVID-19”.

“[We are] absolutely focused on making sure that our health system [has] got sufficient resources, enough resources to help and treat Queenslanders and to make sure that businesses are buffered and supported,” she said.

Your questions on coronavirus answered:

Ms Trad said there would be “government money flowing through the economy, as the Reserve Bank has advised, that the Government is absorbing a lot of the shock of the coronavirus and that the important elements of our economy are supported to continue”.

She said feedback from large employers included “the total cessation or the total stoppage of customers, people are cancelling domestic flights, big events are being cancelled”.

“With those sorts of elements unfolding, what this has meant is even more of an economic impact or shock than we had anticipated a few weeks ago,” she said.

“We are constantly analysing the situation and I will be making further comments in Parliament this week.”

What the experts are saying about coronavirus:

Ms Trad said she was “really feeling for small businesses [and] those workers in insecure work right now who are on casual wages or part time employment and what it means for their jobs”.

“I personally know friends who have been laid off because of the downturn in consumption and because events have had to be cancelled and I have to say it’s pretty scary and fearful for those Queenslanders.”

Pool, department store closed for cleaning

Meanwhile, Brisbane City Councillor Ryan Murphy said the Target store at Westfield Carindale shopping centre had been closed for cleaning, after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus.


Photo:

The Target store at Carindale has been closed for cleaning. (Supplied: Ryan Murphy)

He shared photos on social media showing the store with its shutters down, along with a sign posted to the front that said a team member had a confirmed case of COVID-19.

A public pool at Yeronga in Brisbane’s south is also closed for cleaning amid reports a patron has contracted coronavirus.

A Facebook post from the Yeronga Park Swimming Complex said the move followed “concerns raised” and it was “contacting relevant parties involved, including the Health Department.”

It said it could not reveal details until they had been finalised and confirmed but the “community’s wellbeing is our highest priority”.

Athletics Australia and Queensland Athletics have also announced the postponement of the Queensland Track Classic.

The event was scheduled to take place in Brisbane on Friday March 20, a part of the World Athletics Continental Tour.

The move was made due to concerns about coronavirus and public safety.

Athletics Australia chief executive Darren Gocher said the announcement was disappointing to make.

“In this uncertain time, the health and well-being of the athletics community must be at the forefront of every decision we make,” Mr Gocher said.

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Topics:

epidemics-and-pandemics,

federal—state-issues,

health-policy,

diseases-and-disorders,

infectious-diseases-other,

respiratory-diseases,

primary-schools,

schools,

independent-schools,

private-schools,

religious-schools,

public-schools,

secondary-schools,

education,

health,

australia,

qld,

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First posted

March 15, 2020 11:35:33

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