Health Chief ‘optimistic’ about open borders by Christmas
Queensland's Chief Health Officer had confirmed she is "optimistic" the state will be in a position to open its borders to Victoria by Christmas.
Queensland recorded one new case of COVID-19 overnight, with the new case, a woman, in hotel quarantine after recently arriving from Turkey.
The state yesterday passed 55 days with 0 COVID community transmissions, a figure that has kept Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young hopeful about Queensland's borders opening before Christmas.
She also talked about why football games are more COVID safe than aeroplanes, why she thinks COVID-19 "will never truly be gone" and the general health of Queenslanders over the past two years.
Dr Young said she was "thrilled" overnight when hearing about news coming out from the US about pharmaceutical company Pfizer's early tests of a COVID vaccine showing a 90 per cent success rate, though does think it'll be some time before we see a working vaccine.
"I'm thinking we'd get a vaccine early next year - it wouldn't be children getting it first, it'd be adults," she told the ABC.
The promise of a vaccine also prompted questions surrounding the state's borders heading into Christmas, with Dr Young optimistic about Queenslanders being able to visit Victoria by December, though she stopped short of guaranteeing anything.
"Hopefully we'll be able to open borders to Melbourne and not require quarantine (before Christmas)," she said.
"Though I can't commit to that - we've just got to see if there's any undetected virus circulating because people will be out and about."
"We'll still make those decisions around borders at the end of the month."
Dr Young did also stop short of saying that COVID-19 will be wiped out for good come the deployment of the vaccine.
"I can never say this virus will never truly be gone - just because of the sheer number of cases across the world." She added.
Dr Young was also asked about the volatility of air travel throughout the state, revealing data shows aeroplanes are still "quite risky environments" despite the country's relatively low number of cases and that masks should be made mandatory while on board.
"I think for most people, yes, they should be (made mandatory)," she said.
"It's something that would need to be done at a national level (if made mandatory), because planes cross borders."
She also addressed concerns some have had over large crowds at sports events across the country, going on to say she thinks those events are more "controllable" than an aeroplane.
"(At Sports events) people aren't sitting so close together - and it's also easier to contact trace," she said.
"It's also the factor of it taking place outside, which brings the risk down."
Dr Young also talked about the release of the biennial "Health of Queenslanders" report she has just completed, revealing that Queenslanders are becoming healthier over time."
"We've seen a very steady improvement every two years," she said.
"We've seen a life-expectancy increase, we've seen smoking rates come down, we've seen chronic-disease rates go down," she said.
Though she noted one of the areas of concern was the use of illegal drugs across the state, especially in teenagers.
"There are some concerns there - we're keeping a close eye on that."