Queensland Is Closing Its Borders to All of Greater Sydney from August 1
It comes as the state records two new COVID-19 cases in travellers who returned from Victoria via Sydney.
With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise along the southern stretch of Australia's east coast, Queensland's border has become a hot topic yet again. The state reopened to visitors from parts of the country in early July, but has been quick to block travellers from identified hotspot areas — first banning folks who've been in Victoria, then disallowing entry from anyone who has visited Campbelltown, Liverpool and Fairfield City in New South Wales, and now deeming the entirety of Greater Sydney a coronavirus hotspot.
As announced today, Wednesday, July 29, by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, that means that anyone who has been in the Greater Sydney area in the last 14 days will not be permitted to enter the Sunshine State — with the border closure coming into effect at 1am on Saturday, August 1. The new block covers 31 additional NSW local government areas, which have all been declared hotspots. Accordingly, Sydneysiders and those who've been in the city in the past fortnight will find themselves in the same position as Victorians and anyone who has been in that state during the same period.
The general advice: if you've travelled to those areas, don't plan on going to Queensland. Anyone who falls into the above categories will not be allowed to access or quarantine in the state, and will be turned away at the border — whether you live in the hotspot areas or have visited them in the last fortnight. You'll only be permitted into Queensland if you receive an exemption "for essential specialist workers, as well as for health, legal or compassionate grounds", but the Premier has previously advised that "very few exemptions will be granted". If you do receive an exemption, you will be required to go into forced quarantine for 14 days, in a hotel, at your own expense.
A 14-day forced quarantine period will also apply to Queensland residents returning home from Greater Sydney — in a hotel and at your own expense, too. On Tuesday, July 28, before the new restrictions were announced, Premier Palaszczuk was blunt in her message to Queenslanders considering travelling south: "I would advise Queenslanders at the moment, to not travel to New South Wales... Now is not the time to leave Queensland — now is the time to stay in Queensland".
The move comes as Queensland recorded two new cases of COVID-19 in travellers returning from interstate — with two women testing positive after coming back to Brisbane from Victoria via Sydney. Contact tracing is underway, with a focus on the Logan, Acacia Ridge and Springfield areas. Queensland Health has announced that it'll provide any relevant updates, including public health alerts, during the day if necessary.
NSW recorded 19 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 8pm on Tuesday, July 28, with two in hotel quarantine and the rest linked to a variety of clusters across the city, including one in Potts Point.
From 1am on Saturday, August 1, anyone who has visited the Greater Sydney area in the past 14 days will not be allowed to enter Queensland unless they are a returning resident or are entering for one a few essential reasons. For more information, head to the Queensland Government website.
Published on July 29, 2020 by Sarah Ward