Queensland hasn’t even started to climb the coronavirus curve and infections might not peak until September, the Premier has warned.
Annastacia Palaszczuk says Queenslanders have six months of necessary pain ahead of them if the state wants to avoid the confronting mass deaths that have occurred overseas.
Four Queenslanders have died so far.
The state’s infection tally hit 873 on Friday, a jump of 39 cases, as even tougher border closure rules came into effect overnight.
Unauthorised travellers are being turned back at the border with NSW, and anyone arriving by air won’t be allowed to leave the airport and will be sent back to their point of origin as soon as possible.
The Premier said social distancing measures that are keeping people at home will mean an extended encounter with coronavirus.
“We have to keep flatting that (infection) curve. But if we’re flattening the curve, it means we’re going to go through it longer, so our hospitals can cope,” she told ABC radio on Friday.
“I’m sorry it’s going to take six months.
“We haven’t even started to climb the curve. We are about two or three weeks behind NSW and the peak could be in July, August, September.”
The vast majority of Queensland’s cases are still linked to overseas travel and the state doesn’t yet have the community transmission problems that NSW and Victoria have.
“That is why we took the strongest measures we possibly could in terms of closing that border.”
At least 16 people have been turned back at the Queensland, NSW border since the new restrictions came into effect overnight.
Queenslanders are still allowed to return home, and freight traffic is exempt. But anyone else needs a government permit to prove cross border movement is necessary.
The premier has issued a fresh plea to elderly Queenslanders and others who are vulnerable to coronavirus to just stay home.
“They must listen. They can’t be going out to shopping centres three or four times a week. They need to be at home and people need to bringing supplies to them.”
Ms Palaszczuk promised to release modelling next week about how many infections and deaths Queensland can expect.
But she said that modelling was changing all the time.
“I am planning for the worst, and I am praying for the best.”