‘We’re all going to get it’: QLD health chief issues grim COVID warning as she raises alarm on NSW border plan

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Queensland has recorded two new cases of COVID-19 as the state’s top doctor warned that everyone would likely be infected with COVID and vaccination was the only way to minimise the damage.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young’s grim message came as she also expressed concern that a plan by NSW to scrap mandatory quarantine for vaccinated international travellers from November would put people at greater risk.

One of the new cases recorded on Friday is a flight crew member who tested positive on the way into hotel quarantine before flying onto Papua New Guinea.

The other is a truck driver who was contacted while driving into the state but he hasn’t been infectious in the community.

Young said while both cases were technically locally-acquired, they posed “no risk at all” to the community, however Queenslanders had a “real challenge” ahead of them.

Dr Jeannette Young says everyone is likely to get COVID but vaccination offers protection against severe illness. Credit: AAP

“We are all going to end up infected with COVID, every single one of us,” Dr Young said.

“But if you’ve been vaccinated it’s highly unlikely you will be sick, and definitely very unlikely that you will end up in hospital or the ICU.”

Young said Queensland’s state border settings will have to be reassessed, but she doesn’t have enough information about the NSW plan yet.

“There’s just been an enormous change this morning that I haven’t been able to get my head around,” she told reporters.

“So I need to go and work out what that change means, and it’s not just a change that will impact on NSW, opening the borders to NSW then leads to a flow on to every other state.

“So, I just have to recalibrate my thinking that I’ve been coming to over the last few weeks.”

The chief health officer could not say whether the border travel restrictions would need to be tightened if NSW scraps hotel quarantine for vaccinated international travellers.

“Let me see it please, let me go through it all, I’ve seen so far is a very brief text message,” Young said.

“I need to have a bit more information than that to work out what should be done.”

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath has warned ‘this virus is coming’.
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has warned ‘this virus is coming’. Credit: DARREN ENGLAND/AAPIMAGE

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the NSW announcement made it even more critical for unvaccinated Queenslanders to go and get the jab.

As of Wednesday, 71.4 per cent of eligible residents had received one dose of a vaccine and 54.8 per cent were fully vaccinated.

“The announcement today by NSW makes it even more critical,” Ms D’Ath said.

“If you get your vaccination today it is going to be five to six weeks before you are fully covered by that vaccine, and that’s why you can’t afford to wait.”

Queensland is yet to set a date or vaccination threshold for reopening its borders, but has been hinting in recent weeks that is might be aiming for some time around the end of November or early December.

D’Ath said more people needed to get the jab before the government released a formal roadmap for reopening the borders.

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We’ve got no time to waste, this virus is coming.’

“We’ve got no time to waste, this virus is coming, it’s coming to Queensland,” she said.

“Everyone needs to get vaccinated now, because we can’t talk about the plan forward and opening up if Queenslanders aren’t coming out and getting vaccinated in big numbers.”

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