“This is all modelling but the best advice we’ve received from overseas is we’re preparing for up to 25 per cent of the Queensland population getting this infection in the next six months,” Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young told reporters today.
“Now, 80 per cent of them will get a very mild disease, they’ll possibly hardly even know they’ve got anything.
“That is a problem because they can still spread it. That’s why I’ve been saying for people to be really, really alert.”
There are 5.15 million people living in the state at present, according to the Queensland government statistician’s office or one fifth of all Australians.
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In an update on Friday afternoon, Queensland Health said there were now 35 confirmed cases in the state.
This was a rise from 31 cited by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this morning, and 27 reported yesterday.
“The news overnight is that we have eight additional confirmed positive cases here in Queensland, that’s the largest number we’ve had in a single day,” the state’s health minister Steven Miles said today.
“What is also relevant is that among these eight are the first two outside southeast Queensland – one in Rockhampton and one in Kingaroy.
“Our advice to Queenslanders remains the same, if you become unwell within 14 days of travelling overseas, you should be tested for this novel coronavirus.”
The health department said contact tracing is underway for all new cases in addition to the previously confirmed cases.
“We will notify the community if any other public health alerts are required,” it said today.
Dr Young said they know how each of the confirmed cases contracted the respiratory illness and are testing 1000 cases every day.
“At this point in time, today in Queensland with the 35 confirmed cases that we have, and we know where they all are, we know how they’ve contracted it, we’re working that through,” she said.
“There’s no need for anyone to cancel any gatherings. None. That’s today. Now that advice of course is going to change as things evolve.”
But things evolved quickly on Friday, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing the federal government from Monday will be advising against “organised, non-essential gatherings of 500 people or greater”.
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Actor Tom Hanks and his wife, performer Rita Wilson, were two of yesterday’s new cases.
The pair “recently returned from travel in the US and recently arrived on the Gold Coast”, the health department said.
Hanks and Wilson are in isolation in the Gold Coast Hospital and both in a stable condition.
The actor provided an update on his health to his 7.5 million Instagram followers on Friday.
“Rita Wilson and I want to thank everyone here Down Under who are taking such good care of us,” Hanks wrote.
“We have COVID-19 and are in isolation so we do not spread it to anyone else. There are those for whom it could lead to a very serious illness. We are taking it one-day-at-a-time.”
Meanwhile, parents of students from an elite private school in Brisbane have been warned of a potential outbreak.
Three students at St Patrick’s College in Shorncliffe have been forced to self-isolate over fears they might have coronavirus.
“Please be assured that the college is operating as usual and students are in normal classes and going about their normal day,” St Patrick’s College said in a Facebook post this afternoon.
The Courier Mail reports some of the students work part-time at a KFC fast food outlet in Deagon, a 10-minute drive from the college, where someone believed to be another student from a different school has tested positive.
“A team member from our Deagon restaurant has tested positive for COVID-19,” a KFC spokesman said.
“As a precaution we’ve closed the restaurant until further notice and all employees exposed to the member have been asked to self-isolate.”