Council elections will be ‘major mixing event’

ONE of the nation's top doctors has warned the local government elections this weekend would be a "major mixing event" for the coronavirus.

The Federal Government announced last night major restrictions, closing more businesses, urging an end to backyard barbecues and dinner parties, while weddings are limited to five people and funerals to 10 people.

Despite this the elections across Queensland are still scheduled to proceed.



Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly said it was up to the Queensland Government on whether to hold the elections this Saturday.

But he said from a health perspective it had the potential to spread the virus.

"If this was going to go ahead, that would be a potential for a major mixing event," Prof Kelly said.

"So first thing - anyone who is sick should not be going to vote, at least in person.

"Second of all - people should keep their distance.

"Third of all... if the voting area is full of people, perhaps come back later."

At the same press conference he said if one person with the disease did not observe social distance and hand hygiene they could infect three people, who in turn could infect three more people each.

"Within a month one person will result on 400 other people," he said.

In spite of this and the confirmation the NSW Government is moving to postpone its September polls by 12 months, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she is holding firm the local government elections will go ahead .

But the Premier said she would talk to the Attorney-General about whether people would be fined for not voting.

"The health advice is very clear, Doctor (Jeannette) Young has said it is ok for the elections to proceed," she said.

"People voting need to bring their own pen or pencil and they need to practice social distancing."

The NSW Government today introduced emergency legislation to delay the elections by 12 months, with possible further extensions until December 2021.

But Ms Palaszczuk said as long as everyone practiced social distancing, there was a very low risk of catching COVID-19.

"Just as people go to the supermarket or go to shopping centers, there is a low risk," she said.

"It's when you're in that close proximity of people.

"There's no socializing on Election Day, you go and vote and I urge people to go and vote early."


Originally published as Council elections will be 'major mixing event'

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