Cases continue to soar as total passes 200

QUEENSLAND has recorded another 37 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, taking the total number cases in the state to 221.

It was the third highest daily number of cases since the outbreak began, after 50 new cases were recorded on Thursday and 40 on Friday.

The number has increased steadily since January 30, when Queensland's first coronavirus case was diagnosed in a 44-year-old Chinese man who had arrived on a January 27 flight from Melbourne.

The new virus, also known as COVID-19, is believed to have first originated in the Chinese province of Wuhan.

Common signs and symptoms of the new coronavirus include a high temperature, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.


Brisbane closes council libraries

BRISBANE City Council has announced all 33 of its libraries will be temporarily closed from Monday in attempts to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Borrowing limits this weekend will jump from 20 to a massive 60 items with due dates extended to June 30, according to a Brisbane City Council press release issued today.

The largest of the town libraries at Brisbane Square, Mt Coot-tha, Carindale, Chermside, Garden City and Indooroopilly will close by 4pm tomorrow afternoon with the remaining 26 to shut at 4pm today as normal.


Customers needing to return books can use the after-hours return slots or hold onto the books until libraries reopen, the release said.

The council's online library will remain available for users and offers more than 150,000 eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines and music and video streaming services.

Residents without an existing membership can apply online for a temporary digital membership from Monday to access the digital collection.


Candidates' polling booth ban as election looms

THE Electoral Commission of Queensland has banned local government candidates and their campaigners from canvassing outside polling booths as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

With more than 120 booths open across the state from 9am today in the lead-up to the official council elections next Saturday, Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the ban would help minimise social interaction.


A polling booth on the Fraser Coast. Picture: Glen Porteous
A polling booth on the Fraser Coast. Picture: Glen Porteous

"This is the first time in history Queenslanders will be able to vote two Saturdays in a row, including the official election day next Saturday," Mr Hinchliffe said.

The ECQ directive follows a ban issued on Thursday on handing out how-to-vote cards and other electoral material.

Mr Hinchliffe said that as of 5pm yesterday, about half a million Queenslanders had already cast their vote at a ballot box and more than 540,000 had applied for a postal vote.

ECQ's commissioner Pat Vidgen said the ban would reassure voters that heading to the polling booth would be as quick a process as possible.

The ban includes forbidding candidates from shaking hands with electors as they enter or wait to enter a polling booth.

Failure to comply carries a maximum penalty of $1334.50.



Mr Hinchliffe said Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young had advised that "it was still safe" to hold the council elections.

He said Dr Young had advised the risk of contracting COVID-19 at a polling location was "low".

"People will be frequently entering and exiting the environment, spending little time in static close contact, which reduces the risk of spread of COVID-19," Mr Hinchliffe said.

Originally published as Cases continue to soar as total passes 200

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