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Queensland chief health officer's home under guard after death threats

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Queensland’s chief health officer admits death threats and online trolling have taken “an enormous toll” on her but she will maintain strict quarantine measures to protect the state from COVID-19.

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The state recorded no new cases in the 24 hours to 9am on Monday, and there are only 30 active cases.

Dr Jeanette Young took the weekend off work and “went for a long walk” after becoming a victim of online trolling and death threats.

The threats followed her decision to not allow a Canberra woman to leave quarantine to go to her father’s funeral in Brisbane on Thursday. The woman was allowed a private viewing of the body after the funeral.

“It has taken an enormous toll on me, but then this has taken an enormous toll on nearly every single person in our community,” Dr Young said on Monday.

“Every single person in our community in Queensland has had to give up an awful lot and we can’t see a clear end to this so we’re going to all have to work this through together and work out how we can manage this as we go forward.”

Dr Young’s home is being guarded by police after the threats, which she said makes her feel safer doing her job.

Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming is confident that officers have taken neccessary, precautious steps to protect her.

“We live in challenging times, don’t we,” he said.

“If you look what happens around the world, there’s some angry people in the world and we are hyper alert to community safety, that’s what we’re in the business of; it’s not just locking people up for commiting an offence, I want to stop it happening.”

Dr Young is not the only chief health officer or public servant coming under fire over decisions designed to protect public health.

“My colleagues are as well. I think this is a really difficult time for everyone because there are difficult decisions,” she said.

“I can understand that some people feel that they don’t want to go through whatever is being asked (of them).

“That’s been, possibly, a failing in getting that information out to people so people understand that this is not the flu.”

Dr Young said influenza made people sick and a number unfortunately died – often children under the age of five or the elderly, and other people with complex medical conditions.

But COVID-19 had lasting impacts on brain, lung and kidney function and was not just a respiratory disease.

“This is why we have the very strict protocols that we have in Queensland for quarantine. This is about people not getting this disease,” Dr Young said.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said it was sad Dr Young was being targeted for abuse as she had always done her best to make the right decisions about complex cases.

“Sometimes those decisions have been hard. The results have had impacts on people, on individuals, on their families, but the …  cumulative result of those decisions is Queensland having been kept safe,” he said.

-AAP

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