Queensland will close its border to all of NSW and the ACT from 1am Saturday 8 August after the state’s chief health officer declared them COVID-19 hotspots on Wednesday.
The border closure will be in place until at least the end of August when it will be reviewed by the Queensland health team.
According to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, only residents of border communities and essential workers, such as truck drivers, will be able to cross the border and exemption for compassionate reasons will be limited.
“We’re not going to wait for NSW to get worse, we need to act,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“In NSW we are continuing to see new cases hatch each day and this of great concern to Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Queensland reported one new COVID-19 case on Wednesday and still has the situation largely under control. On Wednesday, NSW reported on 12 new cases with the source of one infection unknown.
Meanwhile the situation in Victoria on Wednesday continued to report record figures with a record 15 deaths and 725 new cases.
Twelve of the 15 deaths in Victoria were linked to aged care and there are 1435 active cases in Victoria linked to aged care. One of the new deaths was a male in his 30s.
“Our chief health officer is declaring NSW and the ACT a hotspot,” Ms Palaszczuk said. “This will take immediate effect from Saturday 1am and this is the right thing to do.
“I know it is going to be tough on Queenslanders but your health comes first. We need to protect not only our health, we need to protect the families, we need to protect our economy.
“We’ve seen what’s happened in Victoria, we don’t want to see that happening here.
“Businesses have said to me, loudly and clearly, that they do not want to go backwards, they want to stay where they are and we need Queenslanders supporting Queenslanders.”
Ms Palaszczuk said it was also important that Queenslanders stayed in the state and didn’t travel to New South Wales or Victoria.
Any Queenslanders returning home from the southern states will be required to pay for 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine upon their return.
There will be no restrictions on people leaving Queensland to return home to NSW or the ACT.
Queensland health minister Steven Miles said it was important to also close the border to the ACT, even though the territory has no COVID-19 cases, as there had been evidence of people crossing into ACT from NSW and then flying into Queensland to get around the border restrictions with greater Sydney.
“It is clear that Australia is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 and we cannot afford to have that second wave here in Queensland,” Mr Miles said.
“There is also intelligence to suggest that some people are flying via the ACT in order to avoid our hotspots lockdown.
“Our economy has just started getting back on its feet,” he said. “We’ve eased restrictions, businesses are open again, people are back at work, we cannot afford to risk that progress.
“Here in Queensland we went 63 days with no community transmission, more than two months with no community transmission, but that all changed seven days ago.
“In that week we’ve had nine cases here in Queensland … those cases have placed an enormous burden on our health system.
“We have seen people go to great lengths to avoid our border lockdown. People have been dishonest … (tried) to deceive our police, people lying on their border passes.”
Do you support the Queensland decision to close its borders to NSW and the ACT? How will the border closure affect you?
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