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Queensland Premier urges people to wear masks indoors to limit spread of COVID-19, AMA says mandate needed

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Health authorities say it is unclear when Queensland’s current COVID wave will peak, as the government continues to resist calls to reinstate a mask mandate. 

Queensland recorded 11,687 new cases in the latest reporting period, and a further 10 COVID-related deaths.

There are 1,034 COVID patients in the state’s public and private hospitals and 21 people in intensive care.

A total of 61,151 COVID cases are active across the state.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) said mask mandates were “likely to be necessary” to prevent the health system collapsing.

“Simply saying masks are a good idea — we recommend them — does not change behaviour,” AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid said.

“How many deaths, how many permanent disabilities are acceptable to the Queensland government before they actually do what needs to be done?”

Dr Khorshid said the timing of the peak was critical to whether hospitals would cope.

“If it peaks in the next week or so, then I think hospitals will be OK, but the concern is the extraordinary numbers will keep going up,” he said.

“We are certainly expecting things to get worse before they get better, and it’s just a matter of how much worse is acceptable.”

Dr Khorshid said the timing of the peak was critical to whether hospitals would cope.(ABC News)

Acting Chief Health Officer (CHO) Peter Aitken said authorities could not be certain when the current COVID wave – driven by the highly-contagious BA.4 and BA.5 variants – would peak, despite initial predictions it would be in late July or early August.

“The numbers are going up and we expect them to continue to go up for a little while yet,” Dr Aitken said.



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