Dear Friends

No Changes in North Queensland
There are no changes in North Queensland, which remains subject to the restrictions applicable to the rest of the state of Queensland. For more details please see:

https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/public-health-directions

The future?
The purpose of this update is to look a little further into the future. We can only view the unfolding tragedy in NSW with dismay, and we continue to pray for all our southern neighbours. Both NSW and Victoria have now indicated that they do not believe they can reduce the pandemic to zero cases, due to the virulence of the Delta strain. The current planning in NSW is to lift restrictions a little once 70% of adults are vaccinated, and to lift lockdowns once 80% of adults are fully vaccinated. Other sources indicate that a higher rate of vaccination might be needed before NSW can return to anything that looks like normal. At the least, this means that NSW and Victoria will probably continue in lockdown for at least another two months, and possibly into 2022.

What does that mean for us here? At the least, our borders will be locked hard to try and prevent transmission into Queensland. I cannot see any interstate travel to NSW or Victoria until December at the earliest, and possibly not until well into 2022. This will also apply to international travel.

However, there is a very high likelihood that in spite of closed borders, infections will cross into Queensland. Hopefully they will be picked up early and before any community transmission gets out of hand. However we need to be prepared for lockdowns in the South-East Corner, and for lockdown in the North; and for the imposition of greater restrictions across the state. Here in North Queensland we have a number of vulnerable communities that would be hit hard by COVID-19 transmission and we also have a duty to protect them and our other neighbours who might be vulnerable.

What can we do?

  • Parishes must continue to be prepared for increased restrictions and possible lockdowns. Parish rolls need to be up to date, and means of communicating with people during lockdown prepared. Phone networks to reach out to the elderly and vulnerable should be checked, and on-line options for worship put in place. Now is the time to do all this while we have breathing space and a time to prepare.
  • Continue to observe all current restrictions: they are designed to minimise the chance of infection should a COVID-19 person unintentionally be with you. They also allow for all possible contacts to be reached so that they can be tested and looked after.
  • The only way out of this is vaccination. I have emphasised repeatedly that it is a good thing to be vaccinated, both for yourself and for those around you. No vaccine is perfect. But it is far, far better than not being vaccinated. COVID-19 is a terrible way to die. And vaccines not only protect you but they also protect those around you, who have far less chance of contracting COVID-19 from a vaccinated person. 
  • Spread good information, not rubbish. Some so-called Christian groups are sprouting misinformation about COVID-19, including poor use of scripture to justify their nonsense. We are called to be people of faith – but not of stupidity. My reading of the Bible is that is firmly supports taking active measures to look after your own health, and that includes in our context vaccination. Please see the attached paper which gives a Christian and scriptural understanding of why we should accept vaccination. click here

Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss any of these issues further.

May God continue to bless you all,

Yours in Christ,

The Right Reverend Dr Keith Joseph
Bishop of North Queensland

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