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Fears for tourist hotspot as Covid ICU admissions soar

Authorities believe one of Australia's biggest tourism hotspots is where Queensland’s Covid-19 outbreak is surging, with more than half of the state’s intensive care unit coronavirus patients coming from there.

Queensland recorded 9,581 new infections on Monday with 21 people in the ICU and a total of 419 people in hospital.

Chief Health Officer John Gerrard says more than half of the ICU cases and a quarter of all hospital admissions are on the Gold Coast.

People wait in line for a covid test at Robina Health Precinct in Gold Coast, Australia.
People line up for Covid testing at Robina Health Precinct on the Gold Coast. Source: Getty Images

"It looks like at the moment the surge is probably occurring on the Gold Coast," he told reporters on Monday.

"It's not surprising, given the sheer number of interstate visitors which would cause seeding events to occur."

He added more than half of the ICU cases and a quarter of all hospital admissions are on the Gold Coast.

Dr Gerrard also noted that the Gold Coast's vaccination coverage was below the state average and among the lowest in southeast Queensland.

Deputy Police Commissioner Shane Gollschewski said there was low compliance with the face mask mandate on the Gold Coast as well.

Of the 189 face masks handed out by Queensland police on Sunday, 168 were on the Gold Coast.

In an opinion piece for the Gold Coast Bulletin published on Monday, Mayor Tom Tate urged the state government to treat Covid like the flu.

People walk at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, Australia.
People enjoy a stroll at Burleigh Heads. Source: Getty Images

“As a society, we are rapidly slipping into a state of social unrest, uncertainty and division,” he said, citing changes to rule and restrictions.

Cr Tate was also critical of the PCR requirements before the new year which required travellers from hotspots to present a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival in Queensland and a negative test on day five.

Both of these rules have since been scrapped.

He was also angered by rules requiring people to self-isolate for seven days if found to be a close contact, claiming it was decimating businesses on the glitter strip.

with AAP

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