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Qld Premier to consider delaying new school year amid Covid peak


(Image: Facebook)

Queensland has recorded 10,953 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, with 327 people being looked after in hospital and 14 of those in intensive care units.

Three people are now on ventilators, including an unvaccinated man in his 70s.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is confident there are “absolutely more” cases which are not being recorded in the state’s tallies, due to at-home testing.

She says a “hotline” will be set up from tomorrow, as a way to gather positive Rapid Antigen Tests.

“The Queensland Government is working actively on a plan … National Cabinet is working on a framework,” Ms Palaszczuk says.

More RATs on their way

RATTestCreditAapImagesAAPImageDan Himbrechts

(AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

The Premier is urging Queenslanders not to hoard RATs as more become available - 150,000 new kits were distributed across the state yesterday.

She is asking those to take one box per family, and to only use a test if they have symptoms.

“We’ve also been able to source an extra 60,000 to be distributed into the regions over the next few days,” Ms Palaszczuk says.

“We expect supplies of 1.3 million by this time next week.”

Back-to-school looking to be delayed

Primary school students may be looking to start their new school year in February, with the Premier assuring parents children will not be sent to classes during the peak of the wave.

I want to assure Queensland parents there will be no return to primary school at the peak of the Omicron wave. We are looking at the option of delaying the return to school. #covid19

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) January 7, 2022

She says they are expecting the virus to hit its peak in late January, with children aged five to 11 eligible for a vaccine from next week.

"We will give you more concrete decisions over the coming days," Ms Palaszczuk says.

"I just want to assure parents that it is definitely not on the agenda to send primary school children unvaccinated to school if we are in the peak of this wave."

With many businesses already suffering from staff shortages across the state, Palaszczuk says she is worried teacher shortages could also impact the beginning of the school year.

“Work from home”

🚨Attention Queenslanders🚨

Now is the time to redouble our efforts, please:

1️⃣ Stay at home if you are unwell
2️⃣ Work and study from home where you can
3️⃣ Wear your mask when you are out and about
4️⃣ Maintain social distancing
5️⃣ Get vaccinated, including your booster shot

— Yvette D'Ath MP (@YvetteDAth) January 7, 2022

Queenslanders are also being asked to work and study from home where possible, as a way to slow down the spread of the disease.

The state’s chief health officer Dr John Gerrard says Queensland’s health system has already been down more than 3,000 staff because of the virus.

“In Queensland Health there are currently 1,156 staff who have been infected with the virus, and 1,835 have their staff in quarantine.”