Regional Qld will be hit harder from Covid outbreak when borders reopen, modelling shows

Future Covid outbreaks would hit regional Queensland much harder than the state’s southeast or metropolitan regions, new research shows.

The data comes after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed Queensland’s official road map towards reopening the borders by Christmas.

Commissioned by Queensland Health, the research from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute modelled potential border reopening points when fully-vaccinated targets ranging from 70 to 90 per cent of the population were reached.

Modelling from QIMR's report on reopening scenarios showing the effects of reopening on infection numbers across the state.
Camera IconModelling from QIMR's report on reopening scenarios showing the effects of reopening on infection numbers across the state. Credit: Supplied

QIMR’s experts found young and elderly age groups would be the worst impacted by infections 90 days after reopening.

“The severe health outcomes load heavily old the old,” the report reads.

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Camera IconA Vax-a-thon urging Queenslanders to get vaccinated. Liam Kidston. Credit: News Corp Australia

“Extending the rollout to younger children (e.g. aged 5-11) may help reduce case numbers, though there are not yet vaccines approved for those ages.”

The report found the location of an outbreak may have a large effect on health system impacts due to the state’s “heavily decentralised geography”.

“An outbreak in regional Queensland may hit capacity limits far sooner than in Brisbane,” the report reads.

Covid Update Presser
Camera IconQueensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has urged people to get vaccinated to avoid infections when borders are relaxed in the coming months. NCA NewsWire / John Gass Credit: News Corp Australia

ICU and hospital resources may come under severe pressure but “not catastrophically so” before control measures could be enacted.

The figures come after Ms Palaszczuk set a deadline of 12 days for unvaccinated Queenslanders to get jabbed if they want to avoid getting infected when borders are relaxed.

Queensland is set to reopen its borders quarantine-free on December 17, when it achieves the 80 per cent double-dose target.

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