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Australia Two Queenslanders tested every minute for COVID-19

00:07  10 april  2020
00:07  10 april  2020 Source:   brisbanetimes.com.au

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Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles (centre) looks on as Janice Geary (right), Clinical nurse consultant of Infection Management Services is seen performing a mock coronavirus examination on a patient inside the fever clinic at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane, Friday, March 6, 2020. The Prince Charles Hospital is opening a fever clinic to deal with patients who arrive at the hospital with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms. © AAP Image/Darren England Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles (centre) looks on as Janice Geary (right), Clinical nurse consultant of Infection Management Services is seen performing a mock coronavirus examination on a patient inside the fever clinic at the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane, Friday, March 6, 2020. The Prince Charles Hospital is opening a fever clinic to deal with patients who arrive at the hospital with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms. Two Queenslanders are being checked for COVID-19 each minute, on average, after the state expanded testing in predicted hot spots earlier this week.

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A total of 3000 people were tested across the state on Wednesday, with 10 returning positive results.

Of the 66,700 Queenslanders tested since the pandemic began, a total of 953 have returned a positive result.

Pictures: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Australia

Health authorities say 372 infected people have since recovered.

After dozens of mystery cases began popping up in Brisbane, Cairns and the Gold Coast, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young ordered for testing to be expanded in those areas on Monday.

Daily testing was ramped up from 600 results on Monday to 1700 on Tuesday, then 3000 on Wednesday.

Dr Young said most fresh cases a few weeks ago were people coming home from overseas but this month there had been increased case numbers from people returning from interstate.

She said if the state was to ease up on any restrictions, "we would rapidly see an increase in cases".

"We cannot relax," Dr Young said.

"We need to be vigilant, we need to continue what we are doing."

Tougher border lockdown from Friday

Queensland will further tighten its border restrictions before the Easter long weekend.

Any person coming into Queensland, including residents, will require a border pass from midnight on Friday.

Previously, any vehicles with Queensland registration plates did not require a border pass and returning residents were allowed through.

"They need to have the exemptions to get back into our state or come into this state," state disaster co-ordinator Steve Gollschewski said.

"If you are coming from a declared hot spot, you will be placed in 14 days quarantine. No exemptions."

Greater Sydney was declared as the first hot spot, an area with "significant" levels of community transmission.

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This means anyone who visits the NSW capital will go into 14 days of isolation from tomorrow night.

Almost 67,800 vehicles have been intercepted since the first phase of the border lockdown began on March 27.

The number of vehicles turned away at the border also continues to rise, with 947 now having been given the order - a jump of 49 from the day before. A further 2638 have been directed to self-quarantine.

Of those flying into the state, 2589 people have been ordered into quarantine, with 39 refused entry altogether.

Premier's plea

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, proud her state has so far managed to control any widespread outbreak of the coronavirus, has pleaded with residents not to lose the plot over Easter.

"Let's not put all of our good work at risk," she said.

"Stay in your state. Stay in your region as much as possible.

"We are not ruling out further measures into the future."

She said if people failed to take physical distancing seriously, more people would die.

"I tell you what, that keeps me up at night."

- with Matt Dennien and Toby Crockford

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