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No Easter lockdown but masks to stay for all QLD

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The Greater Brisbane lockdown has been lifted ahead of the Easter weekend thanks to low COVID-19 case numbers and “astronomical” testing rates.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the lockdown will end at midday today, instead of 5pm as originally planned.

“Easter is good to go.”

Queensland has recorded 10 new cases of coronavirus, nine of which are overseas travellers in hotel quarantine and the other is linked to the Byron Bay hen’s party involving an infected Brisbane nurse.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young says the new case of community transmission is no cause for concern because the person has been in quarantine.

Yesterday, 34,711 people get tested for coronavirus – a record for Queensland.

Dr Young says this is “astronomical” and has been a driving factor behind her decision to lift lockdown, along with no unlinked community transmission.

“I know it takes time; I know there are queues.”

“But because of the high level of testing we can be reasonably confident there are no other clusters.”

It means Greater Brisbane residents can travel anywhere within Queensland from midday.

Restrictions to stay

However, Dr Young says a raft of restrictions will be in place for the entire state until April 15.

People must carry a mask with them when they leave home, and it must be worn indoors, including shopping centres, public transport and indoor workplaces.

Masks don’t need to be worn at gyms or outside, if socially distancing is possible.

Queenslanders can be slapped with a $200 on-the-spot fine if they refuse to put on a mask when asked by police.

The exceptions include children aged under 12 and for people who have certain medical conditions or in workplaces where it is not safe to wear one.

“If you are outdoors and can’t socially distance, then put a mask on,” Dr Young says.

At cafes, bars and restaurants, people must remain seated at all times and can take their mask off while eating and drinking. Dancing is not allowed.

Gatherings at homes are limited to 30 people, weddings can go ahead as normal with dancing allowed only outside and other outdoor Easter events can go ahead but only if there is a COVID-safe plan must be in place.

Aged care facilities across Queensland will remain closed to visitors.

“You can have just one case go to an aged care facility and they are asymptomatic.

“You let one person in and it can infect everyone, and it can lead to very high death rates,” Dr Young says.

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Exposure sites and testing

Queenslanders are being urged to keep checking the list of venues of concern on the Queensland Health website with 118 exposure sites now listed.

Some venues require people who have been there to go into quarantine and others mean people need to get tested and isolate until they get a negative result.

“If you are sick just stay at home and get tested,” Dr Young says.

“That is the most critical thing that will keep all Queenslanders safe.”

Roads safety

With lifting of restrictions, police are expecting high volumes of traffic across the state.

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski says Easter is a high-risk period.

Seventy-four lives have been lost on Queensland roads since January 1 – that compares with 48 in the same period last year.

“We do not want to lose one person on our roads this Easter.

“Expect police to be out there enforcing the law.”