Queensland declares all of NSW and ACT as hotspots

5 August 2020, Written by Matt Ogg

Queensland declares all of NSW and ACT as hotspots

Continuous attempts to break through Queensland's border controls have forced the State Government's hand in a bid to keep its residents safe, with a hard border to be implemented with NSW and the ACT starting from 1am on Saturday.

From that time returning Queenslanders will have to pay for 14 days mandatory hotel quarantine, while anyone from NSW or the ACT will be denied entry except for rare exemptions.

Only residents of border communities and essential workers such as truck drivers will be allowed to cross the border.

These residents will be required to present a photo ID and proof of address when crossing into the state, and exemptions including for compassionate reasons will be limited.

The decision follows Queensland Disaster Management Group meetings yesterday and this morning to assess the risk posed by travellers from NSW, as well as those who may fly from Canberra to skirt the rules.

"I can now confirm that our Chief Health Officer (CHO) is declaring New South Wales and the ACT a hotspot," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) told a press conference this morning.

"This will take immediate effect from Saturday 1am, and this is the right thing to do. I know it's going to be tough on Queenslanders but your health comes first.

"It's not getting better and we're not going to wait for New South Wales to get worse. We need to act and we have taken the decisive decision to act."

Just yesterday CHO Jeannette Young said there are six critical days to go before the effects of recent breaches would become clear.

Today, following two straight days of reporting no new COVID-19 cases, a new positive test was recorded for a 68-year-old woman in the West Moreton area with the source of transmission unknown.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the state currently had 11 active cases, of whom five were in hospital.

"We went 63 days with no community transmission - more than two months with no community transmission, but that all changed seven days ago," he said.

"A lot can change in a week, and we've seen in other states how it can only take one case to see a widespread outbreak.

"In that week we've had nine cases here in Queensland - two travellers from Victoria, three cases of local transmission, two Queenslanders who travelled to Sydney, and one returning Queenslander via Sydney, as well as that one case today and we don't yet know the source of their infection."

He said these cases placed an enormous burden on the state's health system.

"We've done 85,000 tests in that week - 84,795 tests. We've contact traced thousands of Queenslanders; many are now in quarantine," he said.

"We've seen people go to great lengths to avoid our border lockdown; people being dishonest, people try to deceive our police, people lying on their border passes, and not just at the border but right around the state in Cairns, Townsville, Gympie, Nanango.

"In fact police have now served more than a dozen notices to appear in court."

Through its announcement today, Queensland authorities want to avoid suffering the same fate as other states where a second wave is occurring.

"It is clear now that Australia is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19, and we cannot afford to have that second wave here in Queensland," he said.

"We've eased restrictions, businesses are open again, people are back at work. We cannot afford to risk that progress, we cannot afford to risk the opportunity to continue to unite and recover."

Premier Palaszczuk added the hard border would be reviewed at the end of the month.

Updated at 9:26am AEST on 5 August.

 
Author: Matt Ogg

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