Qld reports 23,630 Covid cases, three deaths

Chief health officer Dr John Gerrard said Friday’s deaths included two unvaccinated people in their 70s and one unvaccinated person in their 60s, bringing the toll since the start of the pandemic to 20.New South Wales reported 29 Covid deaths on Friday – its deadliest day of the pandemic so far – while Victoria recorded 18 deaths. Queensland’s daily virus caseload jumped by more than 50 per cent on the 14,900 infections reported yesterday, clearing the previous high of 22,000 cases on Wednesday.Of the new Covid caes, 10,182 were positive rapid antigen tests recorded online, a figure that has more than tripled in the space of a day. There are 589 Covid patients in hospital in Queensland – up from 530 over the past 24 hours – with the number of intensive care patients jumping from 26 to 41. There are 15 people on ventilators, up from 10. Dr Gerrard said South Brisbane was the current area of concern in terms of cases and hospitalisations. “That’s where most of the growth is occurring at the moment,” he said. He did however point out that the growth in hospitalisations was ‘steady’ as opposed to an ‘explosion’. More than 165,000 Queenslanders currently have the virus, a figure that is expected to surge over the next two weeks as the Omicron wave moves towards a peak. Dr Gerrard tipped Gold Coast as the most likely region to see a peak in the Omicron wave. Friday’s update comes after the state recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic so far, with six people dying from the virus on Thursday. All were aged in their 70s to 90s with significant underlying health conditions and had varying vaccination statuses.Meanwhile, the Sunshine State is preparing to end two years of uncertainty by removing all restrictions on domestic travellers, meaning border applications and negative rapid antigen tests are longer needed to enter Queensland from hotspot areas.The new rules come into effect from 1am on Saturday, with Dr Gerrard saying the state’s strict border regime had served its purpose.With double vaccination levels fast approaching 90 per cent, tourism bosses now have their sights firmly set on international arrivals.More to come

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