QUEENSLAND, Australia – Many regions are now considering lifting and easing COVID-19 restrictions on travel and gatherings as cases continue to decrease.
Previous reports show that among many countries gravely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia has one of the best responses in combating the virus. The country successfully contained and gradually defeated the virus by taking the lead from the country’s officials of science and health. The results are even evident in citizen satisfaction as Time Magazine data mentioned that 93 per cent of the Australian population believed that the government had handled the crisis fairly well.
While the number or COVID-19 cases peaked in the previous months, government efforts now result in a gradual and effective drop on the recorded number of transmissions within many regions.
Queensland is among many regions of the country with the best COVID-19 responses, and it manifests in the number of cases the region has. Queensland has no recorded local COVID-19 transmissions for three days already. Deputy Premier Steven Miles has commended the region’s performance in combating the virus, saying that having the last transmission recorded four days ago is “very promising.”
According to the Deputy Premier, Queensland is particular in containing and fighting the virus in the state’s corrective services training centre and the Brisbane Youth Detention Center. The cluster in these government-managed centres is linked to the two Logan women who did not disclose their travel history to Melbourne before the pandemic’s peak. The Deputy Premier also applauds Queensland citizens for helping the government conduct a total of 6,424 tests in the last 24 hours alone. This increase in the people coming forward for testing came after authorities raised concerns about the limited number of people asking to get tested. The number of tests dropped below 3,000 last Sunday.
On the other hand, the Gold Coast has not recorded any new COVID-19 cases for 17 days straight already. The declining numbers of active cases prompted recommendations to lift travel and gathering restrictions in the region already.
In the following days, public gatherings, both indoors and outdoors, will now be allowed for 30 people. This number is a big jump from the previous gathering restrictions, only limiting ten attendees. The government is also looking forward to easing restrictions on hospital and aged care facility visitations. The restrictions on PPE requirements will also be lesser in these activities. This lift on restrictions in the area also prompted the Darling Downs region to have new restriction implementations.
Queensland has also been reported to be eyeing changes in its border restrictions, specifically for New South Wales residents. Previously, the Chief Health Officer recommended for NSW to achieve 28 days with zero cases or local transmissions before Queensland opens its borders for NSW citizens. After days of zero cases, the clock has once again been reset when a new case was reported in the area.
New recommendations state that Queensland can already ease border restrictions following the drop of cases reported in the region. Queensland is now ready to accept NSW residents with just 14 days or 2 weeks of no cases recorded.
South Australia first implements this ease on travel and border restrictions for the Australian Capital Territory. After the state’s Transition Committee meeting last Tuesday regarding the ease of border restrictions, Police Commissioner Steven Grant has announced that the region will now be reopening for the ACT. The new guidelines on the opening of borders were effective, starting at midnight on Tuesday. Travellers will only have online pre-approval requirements to ensure that they did not go out of the “safe community transmission zone” within 14 days before travelling to South Australia.
However, SA will remain closed borders for NSW. Although NSW is also doing an excellent job in responding and containing the virus, the Police Commissioner stated that SA is not confident in accepting open borders with the region just yet. This decision comes from the recommendation of the local health authorities as well.
The requirement for border reopening was down to 14 days of no local transmission within the NSW region during the previous week. Unfortunately, NSW now has a record of seven active COVID-19 cases in the land, with one case still under investigation. On the other hand, ACT’s last recorded transmission was in July.
The NSW’s chief officer for health warned that some COVID-19 cases can still surface around Sydney undetected, although cases are now “less dangerous.”
Dr Kerry Chant mentioned that active cases in many areas of Sydney are still left lurking and unchecked, which accounts for the region’s low testing rates. Among other areas, Dr Chant particularly stated that the western and southwestern parts of Sydney have relatively lower testing rates, which means that there may be many unidentified cases. This data results in cases with mild to moderate symptoms to freely spread the virus within communities of the said areas. It also resulted in many mysterious cases recorded over the past weeks that are still under investigation to identify the virus’s definite source. With this number, Dr Chant encourages more citizens of this area to come forward to get tested for the COVID-19 virus.
On other reports, the Australian National University has also revealed that there may be tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases across the country that have gone unidentified. This report results from a government-funded study that allowed ANU to develop a new test that detects COVID-19 infections through the patient’s blood. According to the study, of 3,000 Australians, 8 might have unknowingly gotten the virus. These figures suggest that at least 0.28 per cent of the Australian population had been infected at the end of the second wave of the virus outbreak.
Australia has recorded approximately 27,000 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with Victoria being the most struck.