4pm: That’s a wrap for today
Thanks for reading our first #ipswichtogether daily COVID-19 information update.
We’ll be back again tomorrow from 8am, and throughout the day, with regular updates and information you need to know about COVID-19 and its impact on Ipswich.
We’re also keen to share the good news stories taking place in our community about how people are helping one another and how businesses are adapting in these testing times. If you know a story we should highlight, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
3.30pm: Ipswich city ready for new councillors
Robust policies, streamlined procedures, a strong fiscal position and a highly skilled workforce await a new mayor and councillors after they’re elected this weekend.
“We’re ready for handover,” interim administrator Steve Greenwood said. “Our teams have spent more than 18 months preparing a system which is now highly regarded in local government circles, and one which other councils are learning from.”
“Who could have picked that we’d be heading into recession, let alone under siege by a global pandemic,” he said.
“It is times like these that councils shine. They are the quiet achievers who step up to provide the ongoing civic support that the community needs,” he said.
He said all they need do was look at the line at Centrelink in the mornings: “This is real. And this council is ready to stand up at a time it is most needed.”
2.40pm: Queensland cases up 78 to 397
Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles has provided an update on COVID-19 cases in Queensland.
He said 78 new cases were confirmed in Queensland in the past 24 hours.
His update also reiterates the importance of social distancing, the strategy of “flattening the curve” and encouraged Queenslanders who can to continue donating blood.
1.25pm: What the Queensland border closure means
Queensland’s borders will be closed at midnight on Wednesday, 25 March in a bid to stop the COVID-19 virus from spreading across the state.
Following advice from the state’s Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced all non-essential road, rail, sea and air travel should be cancelled or postponed immediately.
Essential travel includes people travelling across the border for work or medical reasons, as well as freight transport and emergency services.
Queenslanders returning home will also be permitted across the border, however they will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether or not they are experiencing symptoms.
From midnight on Wednesday, 25 March, there will be visible police presence on Queensland’s roads and borders to ensure the new measures are adhered to.
The government will arrange a means of identifying those who are conducting essential travel to ensure they can get through the border as quickly as possible.
The Premier also told Queenslanders not to travel intrastate during the upcoming school holidays saying, “Please do not go through with your school holiday break, stay at home, stay in your state, and stay in your suburb.”
More information is available at: Border control slows virus spread
12.23pm: Council confirms relief of fees and charges to businesses
Ipswich City Council has confirmed major relief of fees and charges to Ipswich businesses.
A resolution was passed at today’s council meeting: “Ipswich City Council recognises that measures taken to limit COVID-19 transmission will impact local businesses and is committed to provide practical relief where possible. Council will place a moratorium on (fees and charges) in an effort to assist businesses experiencing hardship during these extraordinary times.”
General Manager of Planning and Regulatory Services Peter Tabulo said the measures to waive or refund amounts will have “an immediate impact on businesses in their day-to-day operations”.
Interim Administrator Steve Greenwood said local governments had a role in the latest COVID-19 crisis to reduce the impact on small and medium sized businesses.
He said councils’ ability to help compared to State and Federal Governments was “quite limited” but Ipswich City Council will be doing whatever possible to support the local community.
“It is good to see what we are doing … that support will come from the removal of fees and charges for Ipswich businesses,” he said.
Council believes it will assist local businesses to continue to operate and retain staff.
Read the earlier announcement about relief of fees and charges here.
12.05pm: No need to return library books
Ipswich Libraries will close at close of business today, but there is no need to return books.
All loans will be extended for the period of closure, and can be returned when the libraries reopen.
10.30am: Early voting centres open until 6pm today
Another day of early voting for the council elections has begun. There are five early voting centres in Ipswich.
- WG Hayden Humanities Centre, 56 South Street, Ipswich.
- Town Square Redbank Plains Shopping Centre, Shop 38a, 357-403 Redbank Plains Road, Redbank Plains.
- Springfield Tennis Centre, Unit 1, 44 Sportstar Drive, Springfield Central.
- 1/14 Coal Street, Bundamba.
- Yamanto Shopping Village, Shop 29, 512-514 Warwick Road, Yamanto.
Early voting centres are open Tuesday, 24 March from 9am to 6pm. They will be open on Wednesday, 25 March and Thursday, 26 March from 9am to 9pm and Friday, 27 March from 9am to 6pm.
Don’t forget to bring your own pen or pencil!
Also read: Record numbers of residents vote early
9.30am: Ipswich Show public holiday to go ahead as scheduled on 15 May
The Ipswich Show public holiday will remain on Friday, 15 May 2020, after the annual three-day show was cancelled last week due to COVID-19.
Council sought government advice after the show was cancelled, with CEO David Farmer ultimately deciding not to request another date, noting it would be an appropriate time to have the public holiday and it may have already been factored in by the community.
More details are available in the Ipswich First article.
Ipswich Show has been cancelled in response to COVID-19, but the public holiday will remain in place
8am, Tuesday, 24 March 2020: Ten cases confirmed for West Moreton
West Moreton Health has confirmed two people have tested positive since the last update on Sunday night, bringing the total to ten cases of COVID-19 for the West Moreton region.
Queensland has 60 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 since Sunday night, raising the state total to from 259 to 319.
The new patients consist of 33 males and 27 females between the age range of 21 and 81.
Contact tracing is undertaken for each new case.
A Queensland Health spokesperson said the majority of cases are from patients who have travelled overseas, or have had direct contact with a confirmed case who had travelled overseas
“The number of confirmed cases each day is expected to vary as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 situation across the state,” the spokesperson said.
“We want everyone to know they can play their part to protect themselves and the more vulnerable in our community.
“Please follow the recommended advice from us and our federal counterparts in regards to social distancing, public gatherings and general wellbeing.
“Critically, make sure you are practicing good hygiene and staying home if you’re sick. Washing your hands properly and often is the gold standard of health advice that can help prevent viruses from entering your body.”
Queensland Health is urging anyone who has been overseas in the last 14 days and has a fever or any respiratory symptoms to see a doctor immediately.
Please call ahead to the GP surgery and let them know your symptoms and travel history, this will help them prepare for your arrival.
The most up-to-date reliable information is available on the Queensland Health website.
The current Chief Health Officer (CHO) public health directions can be found here.