Queensland's Borders Will Close From Midnight on Wednesday
"Unless you are returning home to Queensland, or you are coming to Queensland for an essential purpose like work or a medical appointment, or freight issues, then the border is closed to you."
UPDATE: MARCH 24, 2020 — Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has provided further details about the state's border closure from midnight, which comes into effect on Wednesday, March 25. "Unless you are returning home to Queensland, or you are coming to Queensland for an essential purpose like work or a medical appointment, or freight issues, then the border is closed to you," she announced. "People should stay in their own state — and where, as far as possible, they should be staying in their suburbs and as much as possible staying at home."
The closure covers all Queensland borders, including access via road, rail, sea and air. Police will be stationed along border highways, and will meet travellers arriving at airports. Anyone who is allowed to come into Queensland without an essential purpose will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether they have symptoms of COVID-19.
Exemptions to border closure requirements apply for freight, travelling to and from work, compassionate grounds, medical treatment, court orders including family court, emergency vehicles and emergency workers.
For folks who live in the Queensland–New South Wales border region around Coolangatta and Tweed Heads, they'll be allowed to cross the border for essential purposes — such as the aforementioned reasons. Permits or stickers are currently being considered, with further details about the practical requirements set to be announced before the border closure comes into effect.
In the latest attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Queensland, the state's borders will close from midnight on Wednesday, March 25.
The decision was made by the state's cabinet, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced today, Monday, March 23, via social media — with specific details due to be revealed on Tuesday, March 24 following a meeting of the Queensland Disaster Management Committee.
The Premier has flagged that there will be exemptions to the border closure, although just what they'll be hasn't yet been unveiled. In order to keep the flow of goods coming into the state — including, crucially, food — the ABC notes that freight is expected to be exempt.
The Guardian reports that the border restrictions will apply to 'non-essential' visitors. That means Queensland residents will still be able to return to the state; however upon arrival, they'll need to self-isolate for 14 days. To be allowed across the border, it's expected that all other arrivals will need to prove that they can self-isolate for 14 days.
Queensland has already partially shut its borders, with the state's western border with the Northern Territory closed over the weekend to help protect the Territory's remote Indigenous communities from the coronavirus.
As of Sunday, March 22, 259 Queenslanders have tested positive for COVID-19.
The Queensland border closure follows a number of other strategies across Australia to contain the pandemic, with limitations and restrictions updating frequently. Both New South Wales and Victoria have also announced shutdowns of non-essential services, while Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have already announced or implemented border closures.
To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.
Top image: Tourism and Events Queensland.
Published on March 23, 2020 by Sarah Ward