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‘If a car park is packed, don’t go there’: Queensland on track to ease restrictions

However, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned Queenslanders to act responsibly and observe social distancing once the relaxed restrictions came into force.

“That means if a car park is packed at a national park, please don’t go there. If a beach is packed, don’t go there. Use your common sense,” she said.

Residents will be able to drive up to 50 kilometres from their home for recreational purposes, but all other social-distancing restrictions will still apply, including remaining separated from other people and not meeting up with more than one other person in public outside of a family group.

Commissioner Katarina Carroll said an extra 140 officers would be on patrol at the weekend in parts of Brisbane, including South Bank and New Farm Park, and at beaches along the Gold Coast.

“Police will be out and about asking if you’re from the same household, if you’re keeping your distance, etcetera,” she said.

Police have already fined 1552 people for breaching the movement restrictions, including state opposition MP Trevor Watts, who on Wednesday apologised for attending a street gathering with people including some off-duty police officers who were also fined.

“I made a mistake. I have to own that mistake and take responsibility,” he said.

“My behaviour has fallen short of the community’s expectations of a shadow minister and that is why I immediately resigned.”

Meanwhile, more than 10,000 seasonal pickers migrating to Queensland for the winter season will have to self-isolate for 14 days before they can start work during the COVID-19 crisis.

Workers must apply for a permit, and have approved accommodation and confirmation of work, in a bid to protect the regions from the pandemic.

“Queensland becomes the food bowl for the rest of Australia during the winter season,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“We want to make sure that our seasonal workers are abiding to COVID-safe measures.”

Promising development in vaccine testing

One of the potential coronavirus vaccines being developed has shown it can fight off the disease in lab tests.

UQ project co-leader Professor Paul Young said they had managed a strong immune response in their early testing, which was a major milestone on the way to developing a functional human vaccine.

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“We were particularly pleased that the strength of the antibody response was even better than those observed in samples from COVID-19 recovered patients,” Professor Young said.

“This is what we were hoping for, and it’s a great relief for the team, given the tremendous faith placed in our technology by the federal and Queensland governments and our philanthropic partners.”

The results are preliminary and have not been peer-reviewed, however they are an important step towards working up a vaccine candidate that can be used in a clinical trial in humans.

That will likely not happen until next year at the earliest, however the research team hopes to get a full range of immune response data by June.

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