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Schoolies decision to be announced amid new case mystery

1 month ago 17

The fate of Schoolies 2020 could be announced today, with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk earlier this week revealing her government was “carefully considering its response to the event”.

The annual Gold Coast event, held in November, has yet to be called off, despite calls from local mayor Tom Tate and some health workers.

Gold Coast Health workers told The Bulletin they were concerned about managing an influx of revellers without the usual backup as staff are stationed to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yesterday, Ms Palaszczuk said she wanted to have further conversations with Cr Tate and Queensland Police, but was expected to announce her decision today.

It follows Cr Tate calling for the event to be cancelled amid the coronavirus crisis, saying “My position remains the same, I’m still asking Schoolies to stay home this year because we need everyone to be safe and cautious right now.”

“However, the final decision on the Schoolies safety response is one for the Premier,” he said.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said whatever happened, “Schoolies won’t look like Schoolies this year”, but the government was working to find other ways for young people to celebrate the end of their schooling.

“We know this is another burden on year 12s after they’ve already had a tough year,” he told ABC radio this morning.

“But it will be impossible to do Schoolies the way we usually do. It won’t look like it normally does.”

It comes as more cases of COVID-19 are expected to be confirmed over the coming days, after a cluster formed in western Brisbane last week.

Eleven people are now linked to the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre Cluster, and authorities are trying to link a new case confirmed yesterday with the cluster.

Two cases were announced on Thursday, one a returned traveller and the other a Queensland Corrective Services Academy trainer in his 60s, who works at Wacol and lives in Forest Lake.

As a result, more than 7000 prisoners across the state are in lockdown and 25 close contacts are in isolation.

“We can’t identify a clear link with the Detention Centre, however this person lives in Forest Lake and works in Wacol, both locations where other cases in the cluster are known to live in or work,” Deputy Premier Steven Miles said.

There are fears undetected cases are spreading the virus throughout the community, prompting calls from the Premier and chief health minister to “keep getting tested”.

It comes as Mr Miles said it was unlikely new restrictions on gatherings in the state would be repealed anytime soon.

“Until we get to the bottom of these mystery cases or until we manage to suppress any further community transmission, those restrictions will stay in place,” he said.

It comes as seven new locations were added to Queensland Health’s contact tracing alert, including:

August 16, 4pm-4.10pm: Puma Fuel, Wacol August 22, 10.30am-10.45am: Petbarn, Browns Plains August 22, 10.45am-11.15am: Bunnings, Browns Plains August 22, 11.15am-11.35am: The Good Guys, Browns Plains August 23, 5pm-5.15pm” Coles at Forest Lake Shopping Centre August 24, 9am-9.45am: The Good Guys, Oxley August 24, 10am-10.30am: Woolworths at the Station, Oxley.
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