Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has not ruled out reintroducing mask mandates in the face of an increase in COVID-19 cases as the third wave makes its way through the state.
Most important points:
- Ms D’Ath said Queensland Health would follow up on any future advice from the Chief Health Officer
- Queensland has registered 3,971 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, with no deaths
- Ms D’Ath said the third wave of COVID probably hasn’t peaked yet
Ms D’Ath said there was no recommendation to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) to reintroduce mandatory masks, but Queensland Health would follow up on any future advice from the Chief Health Officer (CHO).
“As we move through this third wave, we’re reminding people that they can make those decisions themselves,” said Ms. D’Ath.
“I know almost everyone carries a mask, whether it’s in your car or in your handbag.
“So if people feel like they’re in a situation where they can’t social distancing and they’re particularly vulnerable, definitely wear a mask.”
Queensland recorded 3,971 new cases of COVID-19 and 32,061 active cases, with no deaths, in the past 24 hours.
There were 630 people in hospital, 18 of whom were in intensive care.
Ms D’Ath said it is important for people to remember that COVID-19 is still impacting communities.
“We’re hearing that this wave that we’re in, a third wave, may eventually peak higher than we saw the second wave and we’re not at that peak yet,” she said.
“Our health workers would rather not care for people who are seriously ill from COVID and who are in ICU and unfortunately die every week.
“We have again had more than 1,500 employees on furlough and we ask for everyone’s patience as our hospitals and health personnel are doing their best to take care of everyone during these very difficult times.
“There is one thing we can do to at least ease the burden on our health professionals who deal with these COVID deaths on a daily basis and that is get vaccinated and encourage our loved ones to get vaccinated.
“We will continue to have waves. We don’t know when the end will be.
“We will be living with COVID in society for a very long time, so we need to move to a more business as usual and that means people taking their own responsibility.”
On Saturday, Queensland’s CHO John Gerrard told 4BC radio that the return of mask mandates was “discussed” with his colleagues from other states.
“I can say there is increasing pressure nationwide, there is a movement that thinks we should make masks mandatory again,” he said.
dr. Gerrard told the ABC on Saturday that “we are continuously evaluating all aspects of our pandemic response, including the potential need for mask mandates in different environments.”
“No changes will be made at this stage,” he said.