God had a spear, his name was Sana
PNG Covid catastrophe: Australia must act

Queensland fear over Covid threat from PNG

Annastacia Palaszczuk (Darren England  AAP)
Annastacia Palaszczuk - "It’s a serious situation up there so I think we need to look at our coordinated response" (Darren England AAP) 

SEAN PARNELL
| In Queensland | Extracts

BRISBANE - Authorities may have contained the latest Brisbane Covid-19 outbreak but they are alarmed by the scale of the threat posed by Papua New Guinea.

Of the six new cases detected in Queensland, two came from Papua New Guinea.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed that half of the 500 tests that Queensland Health had done in PNG to support local health services had come back positive.

Queensland Health has already diverted Covid-19 vaccines to the Torres Strait and banned charter flights from PNG, but Palaszczuk and health minister Yvette D’Ath are seeking urgent talks with the Commonwealth government to bolster defences even more.

Palaszczuk flagged the possibility of further travel restrictions on Australia’s closest neighbour and some of the vaccines sourced by Australia being diverted to PNG.

“I think it’s a serious situation up there so I think we need to look at … our coordinated response,” Palaszczuk said.

D’Ath said every week, Queensland was seeing returned travellers from PNG with Covid-19.

This month so far there has been 26 cases. Reflecting on the test results showing one in every two people were positive, she said “that’s quite extraordinary and that’s quite concerning”.

The influx in cases from PNG, and an increase in lower-level emergency matters, last week put Cairns Hospital on ‘code yellow’ due to a bed shortage.

Covid-19 patients have since been evacuated to Brisbane to help spread the burden.

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