Central Queensland gets a recreational break this weekend.
Central Queensland gets a recreational break this weekend.

CQ, here’s your chance, but don’t muck it up

WHEN Central Queenslanders wake up on Saturday morning, the world will be a different place.

It won’t have returned to normal, but it’s a start.

The new dawn will bring with it an easing of stay-at-home restrictions - a chance for everyone to do something positive for their mental health.

“I think there are a lot of people out there struggling (with mental health) and that’s part of the reason that some of those restrictions have been lifted, to try and give people a chance to get out,” Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said.

“There would be a lot of people who feel quite imprisoned in their homes and that’s difficult for everyone.”

The new phase in the battle against coronavirus comes after Queensland on Thursday continued to smash the curve with no new cases recorded, and just four cases this week.

The state’s tally sits at 1033 with 943 of those cases having recovered.

In CQ, there was still one active case in recovery from the region’s total of eight.

The easing of restrictions in Queensland, from 11.59pm on Friday, comes as the state’s scientists reportedly lead the world in edging closer to a vaccine, with UQ researchers confident millions of doses of the cure could be in mass ­production within months.

Buoyed by the latest promising results in mice studies, UQ scientist Professor Trent Munro admitted having a vaccine in production before the end of the year was “incredibly ambitious”, but that was the goal the UQ team had set itself.

The UQ researchers are among about 100 teams around the world working on vaccines to protect people against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, which has killed 90 Australians and more than 228,000 people worldwide.

Professor Munro said scientists internationally were working with “an awful lot of collaboration” in the race to find a vaccine amid the worst pandemic in a century.

He said in “the best-case scenario”, the vaccine would still not be available for wide-scale use until the first half of next year.

So what are you allowed to do from 11.59pm on Friday?

The easing of stay-at-home restrictions means people can go for a drive; ride a motorbike, jetski or boat for pleasure; have a picnic; visit a national park; and shop for non-essential items.

But there are three conditions that apply to the above.

They are that social distancing and hygiene must be maintained; you have to stay within 50km of your home address; and outings are limited to members of the same household or an individual and one friend.

All other rules including gatherings and limits on visitors remain in place.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said numbers of new COVID-19 infections would be watched closely and the measures reviewed after two weeks.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga urged Central Queenslanders to slow down and drive with extra care over the coming long weekend.

She said police would increase speed detection activities including the use of random speed cameras and proactive patrols while aiming for a “no-death weekend” on our roads.

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