Australia

Coronavirus stay-at-home restrictions to be eased in Queensland

A couple walks past a sign informing population about coronavirus. Source: AAP

Queensland will relax some stay-at-home restrictions from midnight on Friday with less than 100 active COVID-19 cases across the state.

Family picnics and weekend drives are back on the agenda for Queenslanders starting next weekend after just three COVID-19 cases were recorded overnight.

Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk says the easing of restrictions would start at midnight on Friday and people would be limited to travel about 50km from their residence.

Outings are "limited to members of your own household," she said.

"We will be able to lift some of the stay-at-home restrictions and can I say, this is a small step and one that we really need the public to 100 per cent co-operate," she told reporters on Sunday.

"If we do see mass gatherings, I will not hesitate to clamp back down."

Queensland has recorded 1030 positive tests but has just 98 active cases.

Three new cases were recorded overnight while another was added from previous testing.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks to media.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks to media.
AAP

Prime Minister Scott Morrison echoed Ms Palaszcuk's sentiment on Sunday, telling ABC radio Australia was on the "road back" from tackling the coronavirus with some restrictions starting to lift.

Mr Morrison pointed to the reopening of elective surgery, schools starting to come back and says it won't be long before some businesses are opening again.

"We are definitely on the road back now," the prime minister said.

"We'll try and get back to some type of normal."

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The lifting of restrictions in Queensland come after the state's independent schools called on the Palaszczuk government to allow all Year 11 and 12 students to return to school immediately.

Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) want Year 11 and 12 students to return amid COVID-19 restrictions so they're not disadvantaged compared to their interstate counterparts.

Schools are open only for students of essential workers and vulnerable children otherwise they remain closed until May 22 in Queensland.

ISQ Executive Director David Robertson stated in his letter to Ms Palaszcuk that every effort should be made to minimise disruption to the continuity of quality teaching and learning.

"I also note that in some other states and territories Year 11 and 12 students are being encouraged to return to schools or are already back at school," he wrote.

"With Queensland adopting the ATAR for tertiary entrance from this year, it is important that Queensland students are not disadvantaged compared to their counterparts in other states and territories."

Students have been encouraged to attend school in South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory while NSW students will be attending classes one day a week from May 11.

Ms Palaszczuk has previously said that a decision on when students return to school in Queensland will be made by May 15.

ISQ wants any return-to-school plan to include arrangements rural, regional and remote boarding students to provide solutions to safely house them and supervising staff.

"ISQ is also of the view that priority should also be given to the return of Prep to Year 3 students and whilst this may not be possible in terms of an immediate return, this group should be considered for a return as soon as possible," he wrote.

There are 22,657 Year 11 and 12 students enrolled in independent schools across the state, the ISQ said.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

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