Queensland to stay closed

Travellers from the southern states won’t feel the Queensland sun on their faces for quite a while – or at least until both states record no more community coronavirus transmissions.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state’s borders would remain closed until NSW and Victoria control all local infections, reported Travel Weekly.

“I think we’re going to continue to see restrictions in Victoria up until Christmas time,” said Ms Palaszczuk.

“That’s very unfortunate for people living there but it’s a serious situation.”

While Victoria’s active cases, case rate and infection rate are dropping, the situation in NSW – and indeed in both states – still remains uncertain.

Cases in NSW have been both locally acquired and from returned travellers.

The case rate in Victoria may be going down, but the death rate is holding steady.

The coronavirus is still bubbling away in both states.

But improvements in both states would need to be much more than just that, says Ms Palaszczuk, adding that putting the health of Queenslanders first was her top priority.

“You only have to look at what’s happening around the world and we definitely don’t want to see that happening here,” she said.

Police along Queensland’s borders have been kept busy keeping the wrong crowd out.

The state’s deputy commissioner, Steve Gollschewski, told reporters it was a busy long weekend, as thousands travelled by air and road.

“132 flights came into the state, 7230 passengers were processed … 19 were refused entry and 740 were placed into quarantine,” he said.

“At our road borders, we saw 8861 vehicles intercepted, with 594 people turned around … we quarantined 27 people from the road border.

“We’re still seeing large numbers of people trying to get into the state that cannot lawfully do so.”

Though the news is tough to take for Queensland’s tourism operators, economist Nick Behrens from Queensland Economic Advocacy Solutions said that while NSW, ACT and Victoria are hotspots, it was still economically wise to keep borders closed.

He said the economic hit from reintroducing restrictions in Queensland would be greater than the economic benefit of an open border for interstate tourists.

“The border really should be able to be open and shut on a fairly adaptive basis … [it] needs to be nimble, it needs to be able to open and close efficiently,” he said.

“Above all else, it needs to be effective when it is closed.

“It’s probably very prudent at the moment to have a closed border with both NSW and Victoria.”

However, keeping borders closed for prolonged periods will not help tourism in the state, said Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind.

“We hope that the other borders can be open a lot sooner than Christmas, that’s for sure,” he said.

“We’re hopeful that the measures will be more targeted very soon, because it seems this virus will be around for some time.

“We have to really start living, to some extent, with the prospect of having cases here and there without shutting everything down.”

How long can you hold out? Do you live in Queensland? Are you happy the borders are staying shut? What about southerners – do you think the hard lockdown is reasonable?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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