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Australia Queensland falls silent as peak of Omicron sets in

06:37  25 january  2022
06:37  25 january  2022 Source:   brisbanetimes.com.au

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A silence is descending on Queensland as people avoid outings, shopping districts and public transport and businesses cancel Australia Day events while the peak of the highly contagious Omicron variant of coronavirus sets in.

The beginning of the first school term of the year has been delayed by two weeks, but state schools saw 25,800 students return to class on Monday as classrooms remained open for children of essential workers.

This was about 4.5 per cent of all state school students.

Queensland's official record of new COVID cases in the past 24 hours shows 10,212, although experts admit the true number is higher. Fifty people were in the intensive care unit and 878 people were in hospital.

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The state is no longer providing the figure of how many people are in quarantine.

Chief Health Officer John Gerrard said the Gold Coast was either "close to or past" the peak of the surge in Omicron, with Brisbane marked next.

The expected surge in cases saw Australia Day events cancelled or postponed, including Logan City Council's Australia Day awards and citizenship ceremony and the launch of the cultural centre the Kingston Butter Factory.

The Bayside Vehicle Restorers Club cancelled its Australia Day rally and Brisbane's Story Bridge Hotel has cancelled its annual cockroach races.

National Retail Association chief executive officer Dominique Lamb said the Omicron outbreak led to the biggest impact on Brisbane retailers since the beginning of the pandemic.

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"Many are struggling with staff shortages, isolation rules and obtaining sufficient RAT tests. CBD stores are being hit particularly hard with many office workers opting to start the year with work-from-home arrangements, leading to a large depletion in foot traffic across the city," she said.

"Businesses need RAT tests to be more readily available so that they can test staff in an efficient manner.

"National cabinet also needs to extend the flexible isolation rules for close contacts already in place for some industries to retail and hospitality."

Buses, ferries and CityCat services in Brisbane were cut back and train schedules shifted to weekend-style timetables this month as more people worked from home and workers were in quarantine.

Public transport patronage slumped to 40 per cent of the pre-pandemic level.

CityCat services would operate on a reduced timetable until Sunday, February 27, with TransLink claiming it was due to staff availability.

The Bulimba-to-Teneriffe Cross River ferries would also be out of service until further notice.

"We hope to be able return to a full timetable as soon as possible and thank you for your patience and understanding during this time," the TransLink website said.

Unvaccinated patient in 30s dies of Covid as Queensland cases dip .
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced 18 Covid-related deaths in the state, including an unvaccinated person aged in their 30s. New Covid cases in Queensland fell to 9,974 and hospitalisations were down to 818 people, with 54 people now in ICU.Ms Palaszczuk said the state appeared to have avoided the worst of the health department's earlier modelling, including more than 500 people in ICU units'We were planning for the worst case scenario,' she said. 'It's absolutely heartening to date that the modelling is below our worst case scenario.

usr: 0
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