The Chronicle

Cherbourg could face solitary lockdown

- HOLLY CORMACK

AN Indigenous community in Queensland’s South Burnett is bracing for a possible lockdown as the rest of the state prepares to open in time for Christmas.

The latest local government area vaccinatio­n data revealed Cherbourg remained the least protected community in the state, with 32 per cent of residents having had at least one dose of a Covid vaccine and 24.9 per cent fully vaccinated.

At the current rate, Cherbourg would not reach 80 per cent target until June 2022.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk released the state’s long-awaited road map out of Covid on Monday, announcing Queensland’s borders would reopen to fully vaccinated travellers on December 17.

For the regions with low vaccinatio­n rates, she warned she would not hesitate to trigger “regionalis­ed lockdowns and restrictio­ns” if they didn’t reach 80 per cent by the date.

Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire CEO Chatur Zala said there was a strong possibilit­y of Cherbourg ending up in lockdown unless drastic action was taken, which could prove disastrous for the community.

“We don’t have any shops in Cherbourg, so we’d have to make arrangemen­ts to get groceries to the people,” Mr Zala said.

“All the services providers who come in from outside, they can’t come into the community, so how are we going to manage all the critical services in the community?”

Mr Zala and Mayor Elvie Sandow travelled to Brisbane to meet with Multicultu­ral Affairs Minister Leanne Linard on Monday to discuss a road map for vaccinatin­g the community.

He said several strategies were discussed, including going “door-to-door” to vaccinate residents, vaccinatin­g children from the age of 12 at school, and incentives such as vouchers.

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