QUEENSLAND SCHOOLS STILL OPEN BUT MOVING TO ‘PUPIL FREE’
QUEENSLAND, South Australia and Western Australia have moved to close schools to most students, as the two largest states, NSW and Victoria, eye a full lockdown of daily life as they battle to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Three more deaths from coronavirus were announced yesterday, taking the nation’s toll to 12.
Leaders in Queensland, SA and WA announced yesterday that school holidays would be brought forward, following the lead of Victoria and the ACT.
Teachers will still be at schools so parents who have essential jobs, such as healthcare workers and people who stack supermarket shelves, can send their children.
All other students are being asked to stay home.
Schools will return after the holidays with distance education.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said heath advice that had kept schools open so far had not changed, but the pupil-free directive provided the right balance given community concerns.
NSW schools remain open, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged parents to keep their children at home if possible.
Yesterday, she flagged her state was readying to move into a full lockdown over the weekend, possibly ahead of Federal Government action, if the situation with the spread of the virus did not improve.
Victorian leader Daniel Andrews made similar comments on Wednesday.
The nation has already had two waves of business closures this week in a bid to stop people gathering in large numbers or close spaces.
Ms Berejiklian said the success of these measures would be judged by the number of community-to-community transmissions of Covid-19, rather than total case numbers.
“I’m saying to the community that if we’re not convinced we’ve had a sufficient amount of success, NSW will have to take further action and that’s a position I’ve been clear on from day one,” she said.
But NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the full effect of the second stage of shutdowns – in place from yesterday – would not be known for some days.
The Federal Government has been tinkering with the restrictions in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Haircuts can now be longer than 30 minutes and 10-person funeral limits can be eased in cases of hardship.
Labor said making changes some 48 hours after the restrictions were announced just added to people’s confusion.
“It’s no good for the Prime Minister to blame Australians for not following the rules, when the rules are so complex and confusing,” health spokesman Chris Bowen said.
Meanwhile, visitors to Tasmania have been told bluntly to go home.