Zero cases not a sign restrictions can be relaxed
A LEADING immunologist has suggested rural areas with no coronavirus cases could have the lockdown safely lifted, but politicians said Isaac residents should not hold their breath.
Medical Professor Ian Frazer said it would be "logical" for COVID-19 negative communities to have restrictions eased and allow life to return to normal.
Isaac Regional Council was one of 135 regions and local government areas in Australia that as of last week was untouched by the pandemic.
"It would be logical if there were no cases in the rural Queensland community (to end the lockdown) and get on with being a community," Prof Frazer said.
But to safely ease restrictions Prof Frazer said the community would have to be cut off from the rest of the state.
Burdekin MP Dale Last said that would be near impossible for the FIFO and DIDO dependant economies of Isaac.
The Northern Queensland shadow minister said there was a strong argument for health restrictions to be eased in a staggered region-by-region manner.
And while Mr Last said he was thankful Isaac had remained coronavirus free, he worried about moving too quickly in relation to relaxed restrictions.
"We don't want to jump the gun on this and undermine all that good work," he said.
"We should start with these ones where they don't have any cases."
"(But) Isaac would not be the first cab off the rank."
With so many sectors of the Queensland economy knocked out by the virus Mr Last said extra precautions were needed for mining communities.
"We need the resource sector to get Queensland moving again," he said.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the baseline restrictions would remain for the next four weeks.
"A framework for lifting them (would be) based on the wider testing of more people, vastly increasing tracing capabilities, and expanding capacity to control outbreaks," Ms Landry said.
"No one wants to see isolation restrictions lifted more than I do but we can't take our foot off the gas just yet."
Isaac region mayor Anne Baker said now was not the time to become "complacent".
She said the Isaac region may have had zero confirmed cases, but she wanted it to stay that way.
"It is critical we stay the course and follow the directives of the Australian and Queensland governments or we risk giving back all these hard fought gains," she said.
"It is essential we maintain the practices that have served us so well, we must continue with the social distancing measures and strong personal hygiene standards as we learn to coexist with the threat of the virus.
"Our Isaac communities are renowned for their resilience in challenging times, I am so proud of how we all continue to adapt to the new normal
"We must continue to keep our loved ones safe, stay the course and keep connected during what can be a very lonely time for many.
"We are winning the battle but the war is far from over."