Qld records 10 deaths, 15,050 virus cases
Another 10 people have died in Queensland's COVID-19 wave as the state records 15,050 new cases and quarantine requirements relax for international arrivals.
The latest deaths include one person in their 40s and one in their 50s, and come as the state's hospital admissions for COVID-19 climb from 855 to 884.
Chief Health Officer John Gerrard said ICU numbers had dropped marginally from 54 to 52, and signs that the virus wave had peaked over the border in NSW were positive for the state.
He remains confident Queensland's peak will come about two weeks after NSW, and said areas including the Gold Coast and Brisbane would be among the earliest.
"The modelling used for Queensland is very similar to the modelling used for New South Wales," he said on Saturday.
"It could be as early as the next few days...when the pandemic will peak on the Gold Coast, and then metropolitan Brisbane is likely to follow," he said.
The peak is not the end of the wave, but the high point of transmission and potentially hospital admissions, Dr Gerrard said.
Case numbers are likely to fall at "about the same rate" as they have risen, however the re-opening of schools could see another peak in transmission.
"I just want to emphasise that this is very definitely positive news from New South Wales, that they have clearly reached the peak of the pandemic wave..and they're modelling is very similar to ours," he said.
Speaking from the Brisbane International Airport Terminal, tourism minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the latest deaths were "terrible news" for family and friends.
The first quarantine-free international flights arrived in Brisbane on Saturday, with passengers initially being made up of returning citizens, students and workers.
Quarantine is still required for unvaccinated arrivals.
It signals the start of a "slow rebuild" for the state's international tourism industry, Mr Hinchliffe said.
"I'm very hopeful, with markets like Singapore to start with, that we do see tourists return," he said.
"(It) will be a matter for the Australian Government, about when when we open up to some of those different markets."
Brisbane airport has seen about 500 international travellers per day during the pandemic, with double that number expected on Saturday.
"It's still a long way to go before we reach the 17,000 we had before COVID, but we will get there," Brisbane Airport CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff said.
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