Confronting morgue photo sends grim Covid message to Queenslanders

·2-min read

A Queensland council has set up a white shipping container to act as a temporary morgue as Covid-19 cases continue to grow on their doorstep.

Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Mislam Sam announced the grim move on Facebook on Wednesday to encourage the island's Indigenous community to get vaccinated.

He warned Thursday Island at the northern tip of Australia had already recorded a virus infection, and with 92 active cases at nearby Townsville the virus is likely to reach Palm Island.

Queensland announced a massive jump of 2,222 daily cases across the state on Thursday.

“Clearly Omicron is spreading like wildfire throughout the state,” Mayor Sam said.

The temporary morgue set up on Palm Island.
The temporary morgue set up on Palm Island. Source: Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council

“The people who are getting sick are those who are not vaccinated. It's already on Thursday Island. There's every reason to think with all the cases in Townsville that some of our residents have already been exposed.

“Wear your mask — even if you don't lawfully need to — and get a booster shot or get vaccinated TODAY.”

Almost 1,000 Palm Islanders are not protected, which is a “serious concern”, he added.

The island is home to several Indigenous communities and has a 58.4 per cent double vaccination rate, News.com.au reports.

Temporary morgue is a 'stark reminder'

Mayor Sam said in a later Facebook post the temporary morgue should be a stark reminder to locals that they are at serious risk.

“We all look at the current infection numbers and think that’s what will happen here, that we won’t get real sick or die.

“The big difference is our population is massively under vaccinated compared to the rest of Queensland.

A photo of a beach on Palm Island.
The island is home to several Indigenous communities. Source: Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council

“All medical advice to us indicates deaths are anticipated from Covid on Palm and that is an avoidable tragedy waiting to happen,” he said.

He urged people to do their part so the morgue doesn’t have to be utilised.

“I don’t want to see this temporary morgue used at all but it’s up to people to take care of their own health, their own future,” Mayor Sam said.

“We have too many funerals now. I know this is confronting but it’s time for tough advice to be listened to.”

The photo of the temporary morgue has attracted some criticism, with some disagreeing with the confronting decision.

Others urged residents to get vaccinated and stay safe.

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