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Qld company to churn out face masks, as state sees smallest case jump in weeks

Hours later, Queensland Corrective Services revealed a prisoner had been taken to hospital from Wolston Correctional Centre on Sunday with flu-like symptoms.

All other prisoners in the same unit as the prisoner had been isolated as a precaution following advice from Queensland Health.

Police stop cars at a checkpoint on the Queensland and New South Wales border on Friday.

Police stop cars at a checkpoint on the Queensland and New South Wales border on Friday.Credit:AAP/Darren England

A guard at the centre tested positive for COVID-19 nearly two weeks ago, having worked some shifts at the facility before being confirmed with the disease.

The Premier said when required, testing criteria would be expanded beyond people with symptoms who had returned from overseas or been in close contact with a confirmed case, but advice from Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young was that this was not yet needed.

Such people still constituted all but 67 cases across the state, Ms Palaszczuk said.

More than 55,000 people had been tested in Queensland by the end of last week.

Amid concerns about shortages of the protective equipment such as surgical face masks essential for front-line health workers, the government announced on Sunday it would be shoring up supply.

The Logan-based Evolve Group will begin making N95 surgical masks at its Crestmead facility at a rate of 60,000 a day, after a $1.2 million injection of government funding.

“That means this factory will have the capacity, when at full production, to produce more than 20 million face masks for our state each year,” Manufacturing Minister Cameron Dick said.

Queensland Health, along with the Housing and Public Works Department, have agreed to source masks from the firm for three years.

The increased effort was revealed as part of a broader push for suppliers and manufacturers around the state to help identify and fill supply-chain gaps through two state government online portals.

The premier also flagged tougher restrictions for backpackers, some of whom were turned around at the NSW border under strict new controls after trying to come over on buses.


“We are going to be very stringent when it comes to backpackers,” she said.

“There will be further measures announced about that in coming days.”

After dozens of refugees took to the verandah of a Kangaroo Point hotel where they were being housed on Saturday to raise concerns about their cramped living conditions, Ms Palaszczuk said she was “not happy” with how the situation had been managed.

“I will talk to the federal government,” she said.

“The refugee issue is an issue for the federal government and I am happy to raise it with them.”

A Serco guard who had worked at the hotel tested positive for COVID-19 last month, with human rights lawyers urging the federal government to release detainees into safer spaces.

Ms Palaszczuk’s Sunday morning update also came with a warning to those still not following directions.

Crowds at a popular inner-Brisbane food market on Saturday drew the ire of Ms Palaszczuk, who said the market would be shut down “immediately” if social distancing was not adhered to.

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