Queenslanders have been told to stay in their neighbourhoods as the state government considers implementing tougher measures like closing the state’s beaches.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said social distancing wasn’t doing enough to stop the spread of coronavirus, so more needed to be done.
“I need you to stay near your village,” she said on Sunday.
“As much as possible you need to restrict your non-essential travel and stay close to home.”
The number of Queenslanders with COVID-19 jumped by 38 overnight, to 259.
Health Minister Steven Miles said the southeast remained the hotspot for cases, with the majority of people infected having recently returned from overseas.
The premier, who delayed the press conference until all media were stationed 1.5 metres apart, said despite what had occurred in Italy and other parts of the world, people still weren’t taking the virus seriously.
“There are people out there who think it won’t happen to us,” she said.
She urged the community to speak up and use social media to encourage others to do the right thing.
Palaszczuk did not rule out closing Queensland beaches, after several Sydney beaches—including Bondi—were shut down due to large crowds.
“I will be looking at those matters very closely,” she said.
“I appreciate that some people live in those neighbourhoods close to the beaches, but we have to make sure that everyone is doing the right thing and complying.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and ministers from each of the states and territories will convene the national cabinet again on Sunday night in a bid to further reduce the spread of coronavirus.
NSW and Victoria have already indicated they will introduce shutdowns of non-essential later this week,
When asked if Queensland would follow suit, Palaszczuk said her repeated calls for people to stay indoors made it clear what her position was.
“If we have to take stronger measures we’ll take stronger measures,” she said.
Opposition leader Deb Frecklington has called on the Queensland government to introduce billion-dollar economic stimulus packages similar to those announced by NSW and Victoria in recent days.
So far it has promised A$27.5 million for tourism, agriculture and education sectors, A$500 million in no-interest business loans and a payroll tax deferral.
Palasczcuk said she was in full support of Morrison’s latest economic package, announced on Sunday, and said her state’s own budget review committee was meeting on Monday.
“We have front and centre measures we can put in place to help Queenslanders as well,” she said.
By Shae McDonald