Brisbane lockdown to be lifted at noon: "Easter is good to go"

Brisbane lockdown to be lifted at noon: "Easter is good to go"

The three-day lockdown in Greater Brisbane will be cut short by five hours at noon today after the state reported just one new community case of COVID-19 overnight.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government had two preconditions for lifting the lockdown which have both been met - no cases of unlinked community transmission and high testing rates.

After 34,711 tests in 24 hours and all known positive cases accounted for, Premier Palaszczuk said "Easter is good to go" and has called on other states and territories to lift Greater Brisbane's hotspot status.

"I understand a lot of families in the greater Brisbane have made plans, and the last thing we want to see are accidents on our roads at 5pm this afternoon into the evening," the Premier said.

"So if you have plans the lockdown is lifted from 12 noon today, and I encourage people to take care on the roads. Please be safe and enjoy your time away with family and friends."

She added there had been high arrival numbers at the Gold Coast and Cairns airports, boding well for the holiday season at two of Queensland's main tourism destinations.

As a precaution, restrictions previously applied to the rest of Queensland will be applied state-wide for 14 days, including mandatory mask wearing while inside, at hospitality venues, in public transport or where social distancing is not possible. Visitor numbers to private residences will be capped at 30.

People will need to carry masks at all times when outside the home, and patrons at restaurants, bars or cafés will need to be seated.

"We have to unfortunately keep those restrictions that have been in place for the rest of Queensland for the next 14 days because we're not completely clear," QLD Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said.

"We think we can manage it with those restrictions, and with the response that we've seen from Queenslanders.

"But it doesn't mean the outbreak is over. It just means that I don't believe we need a lockdown to manage this outbreak going forward - we can use those other restrictions."

Premier Palaszczuk also brought good news to churchgoers as Easter Mass will be able to go ahead across the state with a one per two square metre rule in place for congregations.

There were also nine overseas-acquired cases reported overnight who are all in hotel quarantine. This takes the state's total number of active cases in hospitals to 82, of which 68 were locally acquired.

The latest case attended the Byron Bay party where cross-infection into NSW residents has prompted heightened restrictions for four local government areas and a devastating blow for the Bluesfest, which was due to start today but instead was cancelled for the second year in a row.

NSW reported zero new cases of community transmission today, but restrictions and recommendations announced yesterday for the state's north remain in place.

NSW Health released an update for several locations of concern yesterday evening, while numerous contact tracing alerts have been issued in Queensland, particularly in the Brisbane suburbs of Hamilton, Everton Park, Newstead and North Lakes, as well as several bars across Brisbane City and Fortitude Valley.

Check in QLD mandatory from 1 May

Following in the footsteps of other states like NSW and SA, Queensland will soon make its new COVID-Safe check-in app mandatory for most hospitality businesses across the state.

Premier Palaszcuk said new requirement would come into force from 1 May, allowing contact tracers to more readily access information at a critical time for Queensland's public health response.

"Alongside testing, contact tracing is our most valuable tool to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community," the Premier said.

"Over the past 12 months, we have relied on our team of contact tracers to quickly identify and assist anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.

"So it is absolutely essential that our contact tracers have access to relevant, legible and timely information, to do the important work to keep all Queenslanders safe."

The 'Check in Qld' app can be downloaded on Google Play or Apple App Stores.

"When we work together and do our part to comply with Public Health Directions, we can look forward to better days ahead, with eased restrictions and greater confidence while visiting venues," the Premier said.

Dr Young said the mandate was necessary, with a number of recent COVID-19 cases linked to popular hospitality venues.

"Since 27 March, we've seen dozens of restaurants and cafes added to our list of COVID-19 contact tracing locations, including as locations for close contacts," Dr Young said.

"We all understand the threat the virus poses in confined, enclosed spaces even when people are practicing social distancing and hand hygiene and as we work to contain the highly-contagious UK variant, we must do everything possible to assist our health authorities.

"I thank hospitality businesses for their understanding and their cooperation as we streamline and accelerate contact tracing in Queensland."

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said more than 13,500 businesses had registered with the app so far with 3.8 million check-ins since its launch a month ago.

"The new mandate will ensure that wherever Queenslanders drink or dine, their records will be kept securely," he said.

"I hope this move will bring customers greater peace of mind when choosing to dine-in at Queensland's great pubs, restaurants and cafes."

Minister for Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said there had been strong support for the app so far.

"The app has been downloaded more than 1.2 million times," Minister Enoch said.

"From restaurants, pubs and cafes to hairdressers, libraries and gyms, the Check In Qld app has been helping Queenslanders stay COVID safe.

"One of the best features of the app is that you only need to enter your details once and the app remembers them for future check ins."

Originally published at 9:14am AEST on 1 April 2020, updated at 11:20am AEST.

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