Qld defends $40m hotel quarantine spend

·2-min read

Queensland's deputy premier has defended spending $40 million on hotel quarantine in the six months since a purpose-built facility at Wellcamp opened.

Twelve people have gone through hotel quarantine since the government's $190 million quarantine facility opened near Toowoomba in February.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says most of the $40 million was used to terminate contracts and pay outstanding invoices and a small number of hotel contracts remain open for people infected with COVID-19 who can't be transported to Wellcamp.

"So the vast bulk of that amount was associated with the wind-down of the hotel quarantine program," Mr Miles told reporters on Sunday.

"It was a very big and substantial program, and you would understand why we wanted to make sure that we complied with all of our contractual obligations."

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli described the $40 million spent after Wellcamp opened "an extraordinary amount of waste".

But Mr Miles said the government's pandemic spending decisions had been right.

"It might be easy for people to throw rocks from the cheap seats, but when you're making these decisions day in and day out, you have to be confident in them, and you have to take the health advice, and you have to do what you think is right to keep Queenslanders safe."

The state recorded 5804 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday taking the number of active cases to 64,691.

There are 1042 people in hospital and 19 in intensive care with another 1952 people being treated in virtual care arrangements.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken said ICU numbers are lower than in previous coronavirus waves, which is likely due to high vaccination rates and increased access to antiviral drugs.

"We're seeing the demand for hospital beds is much more than the demand for ICU beds," he told reporters.

"It hasn't risen with it which is great news, it means it's a less severe disease."

He said most of the people in hospital or dying from COVID-19 in Queensland were over the age of 65 and hadn't had a second booster jab.

Dr Aitken said if Queenslanders ensured their COVID-19 vaccines were up to date, practised social distancing and stayed home if unwell, this would help flatten the curve.

"We can change that curve, we can change the impact on our hospitals, we can change our case numbers by doing all those things," he added.

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