Qld election 2020: International students kept out

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has ruled out expanding international arrivals to include students, saying it would put too much strain on the hotel quarantine system.

She said the hotel quarantine was coping adequately with the arrival of 115o passengers a month and there was no need to increase that number at a time when the state had COVID-19 case numbers under control.

Ms Palaszczuk said now was not the time to allow international students to enter despite other states rolling out the welcome mat.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says now is not the time open the borders to international students. Picture: Tertius PickardSource:News Corp Australia

“If we had a rush of international students coming into Queensland, that could put at risk our hotel quarantine and put at risk the health of Queenslanders,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“You cannot stretch hotel quarantine, you cannot go too quickly, and too fast.

“Our hotel quarantine is very robust, but I'm not going to put the lives of Queenslanders at risk by rushing into decisions.

“The priority is to get Queenslanders and Australians home and families reunited, but we are not going to rush international students.

“We don’t know which countries they’re coming from and we know that there are large infections happening at the moment, across many parts of the world.”

Besides not welcoming international students, Ms Palaszczuk’s will announce on Friday whether all of NSW will be welcomed in Queensland.

The impending decision comes as Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young feared there may be undetected cases of coronavirus in the community.

Queensland recorded no new cases overnight despite almost 5000 tests.

Dr Young’s concerns come after viral fragments of COVID-19 appeared in routine wastewater testing in southeast Queensland.

The fragments were discovered in sewage at the treatment plant in the Ipswich suburb of Carole Park.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young fears there may be undetected cases of coronavirus in the community after fragments of the virus were detected in sewage. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan PeledSource:News Corp Australia

Dr Young’s concerns about the latest detection of viral fragments in wastewater comes less than two weeks after testing at three other southeast Queensland wastewater plants returned positive results.

The wastewater plants were at Maroochydore, on the Sunshine Coast, and Wynnum and Sandgate. They had all previously returned negative results.

Dr Young said the fragments in the wastewater were likely to be undetected cases of the virus eventhough the treatment plant was near the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre at Wacol where a cluster of COVID-19 cases was discovered in August.

On Wednesday she urged anyone with even the mildest symptoms to be tested for coronavirus and a fever clinic at Ipswich Hospital was open from 10am to 4pm.

Ms Palaszczuk said she was encouraged by no new cases and just five active cases across the state, all of them in hotel quarantine.

“We've had over 4900 tests in the past 24 hours and I’ve said, throughout this time, we are seeing second waves overseas and we are seeing countries go into lockdown and that is not the Queensland I want,” she told reporters on Thursday.

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