Gold Coast hotel to be used as quarantine destination
STRICT quarantine and social distancing rules appear to be slowing the growth rate of Queensland coronavirus cases but experts say rolling back unprecedented public restrictions would be "ridiculous".
As of last night, the Gold Coast had 121 confirmed cases, up from 114 on Saturday.
There were 31 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Queensland yesterday, raising the state total to 656.
Queensland Health confirmed a third Queenslander has died from it.
A 75-year-old woman with underlying medical conditions died in Caboolture Hospital. She contracted it from a cruise she had recently returned from.
While statewide cases jumped 153 per cent in the seven days to Saturday, the previous week saw a more dramatic spike of 324 per cent.
Queensland Minister Steven Miles said: "The rate of growth last week was half that of the week before. We are flattening the curve."
Medical and science experts say the figures show Australia's border control, social distancing and quarantine policies are working, at least for now.
With the incubation period said to be up to two weeks, Australia as a whole seems to be benefiting from measures announced on March 15 ordering all overseas travellers into quarantine for 14 days on their arrival into the country.
"We can look on this as the first glimmer of things improving but there is plenty of water to go under the bridge yet," Griffith University infectious diseases expert Nigel McMillan said.
It comes as one Gold Coast hotel - Voco at Surfers Paradise - will be used to accommodate international arrivals during their 14-day enforced hotel quarantine period now required by Federal Government.
The hotel will be used despite the city's last international flight on Tuesday, March 24.
Voco owner InterContinental Hotels Group would not comment yesterday.
Queensland Health could not say what safety measures would be implemented as part of the quarantine and what this meant for other guests at participating hotels.
"Queensland Health is working with a number of hotel providers across Queensland to put into effect the Prime Minister's announcement," a spokeswoman said.
University of Queensland virologist Ian Mackay said although Australia's policies appeared to be working, it may be months before governments could relax strict social distancing and border control measures.
"All of these interventions have to stay in place until we can really get a better hold on things," Associate Professor Mackay said. "Personally, I think we have to have the border closures remaining for months. And then obviously, as the experts are doing, monitor the situation on a day-by-day basis.
"In the meantime, we have to plan for the worst, which is that other countries have seen exponential growth and they've seen large numbers of hospital cases and overloaded health systems.
Originally published as Coast hotel to be used as quarantine destination