Australia Miles warns of ‘Delta for Christmas' if Queensland opens border early

09:50  24 september  2021
09:50  24 september  2021 Source:   brisbanetimes.com.au

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Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles speaks to the media during a press conference © AAP Image/Darren England Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles speaks to the media during a press conference

Queensland's Deputy Premier has warned that Queenslanders could get "Delta for Christmas", referring to the highly contagious variant of coronavirus, if the state opened its borders too early.

Steven Miles was responding to questions on Friday about when the state would open its borders, after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk hit back at questions on the issue on Thursday.

Mr Miles said the debate around the reopening had turned "bizarre" and he again accused the federal government of trying to force the Queensland government's hand.

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"I've been out a lot in Queensland and talking to Queenslanders, and what they tell me is that Delta is the gift they do not want from Scott Morrison," the Deputy Premier said.

"He gave Delta to Sydney and now they're trying to gift it to us. We don't want that, we want to stay open like we are now and we'll continue to make our decisions on that basis."

The comments followed fresh criticism from the federal government about Queensland's border stance, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg saying in an interview on Friday morning it would be a bad decision for Queensland to keep its borders shut when the country reached 80 per cent vaccination coverage.

"It's inconsistent with the national plan agreed at national cabinet and it's denying and delaying the inevitability, and that inevitability is living with the virus," Mr Frydenberg said on 2GB radio.

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"It can't be any clearer - you turn on your TV and in the UK and US and in Canada there are thousands of cases every day but they are living with the virus, they're getting on with their lives."

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Mr Miles reiterated his government's position that they were abiding by the modelling done for the national cabinet by the Doherty Institute, which recommended an easing of restrictions once 70 and 80 per cent of the population was vaccinated.

He said that was still the plan across all states, but questioned the federal government's interpretation of the modelling.

"Nationally, we're talking about opening up and that's things like having 30 people in your home in Victoria by Christmas and they're taking that debate into Queensland, where all of those restrictions are already lifted and the only real remaining restriction is the one at the border," he said.

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"The Doherty research does not talk about the border. The Doherty research is predicated on a very low number of cases and we have a very high number of cases and all of that is being reworked for national cabinet and none of us have seen that modelling yet.

On Thursday, Ms Palaszczuk cast doubt on whether the state would allow interstate travel when the nationally-agreed threshold was reached, snapping at journalists who asked about the issue.

"If we get a Delta outbreak here, we'll be in lockdown and all businesses will be closed. Do you want that?" she said.

In response to questions around whether she would fall in line with the federal government plans for overseas travel by Christmas, she asked reporters, "Where are you going to go? Are you going to go to India?"

"In Tokyo, you have to sit in perspex screens with masks on, and if you remove your mask, you can't talk while you're eating.

"I think the federal government needs to identify very clearly what are the countries that Australians can travel to, OK?"

Earlier this week the Premier asked for an apology from federal health minister Greg Hunt for his attacks on her suggestion that children under 12 years old be included in vaccine targets, after he asked the TGA to expedite any recommendations from Pfizer for children in that age group.

Queensland's vaccination rate stood at 62.14 per cent of people with one dose on Friday, while 43.36 per cent have received two doses.

Queensland Health administered 22,880 vaccines in the 24 hours to Friday morning, with pop-up clinics announced for Suncorp Stadium to coincide with the NRL finals games being played on Friday and Saturday.

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Speaking to The Daily Telegraph on Sunday, the former Voice judge spoke about what it's been like to become the subject of social media memes as a result of the unfortunate coincidence. © Provided by Daily Mail ( 'There’s another Delta on the loose!' the Mistaken Identity songstress joked. 'No-one wants to be confused with a global virus. That Delta needs to go,' she added. It comes after Delta joked about changing her name as a result of the coincidence, Tweeting in July: 'Hi all, it’s me the artist formerly known as Delta [wonky face emoji]'.

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