The Federal Government Has Declared the Greater Brisbane Area a COVID-19 Hotspot
Domestic border arrangements with Queensland have been changing, too, in response to Australia's first local case of the new, more contagious coronavirus strain.
Back at the beginning of December, life in Australia seemed like it was largely returning to normal after a tough year spent coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. Then Sydney experienced a cluster of cases in the northern beaches region, cases popped up in Victoria as well, and now Brisbane is responding to the country's first local case of the new, more contagious coronavirus strain.
Due to the latter situation — with a hotel quarantine worker testing positive to COVID-19 — the nation has been reacting at both the state and federal government levels. The Greater Brisbane area is going into lockdown for three days, and New South Wales is requiring anyone who has been in the region since January 2 and is now down south to also stay at home under the same conditions for the same period. In the latest announcement on the news-filled day that is today, Friday, January 8, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made a similar statement, covering the whole country.
Firstly, following the first Australian national cabinet meeting for 2021, the Prime Minister revealed that the Greater Brisbane area has been declared a COVID-19 hotspot at the commonwealth level. That applies to the Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas. Secondly, the PM has said that anyone who is in the rest of Australia but has visited Greater Brisbane should "treat yourself as if you are in those places".
"Our message to Australians who are in those areas is — stay where you are," the Prime Minister said. "Don't go anywhere. Don't go home to another state or any other part of your state. Over the next few days, stay where you are. If you're somewhere else and you are planning to go there, don't. You should get tested. You should monitor your symptoms. And until you've gone through the testing process, you should remain isolated."
Queensland Health has made a similar statement about travellers from the state itself, announcing that anyone from Queensland who has been in the Greater Brisbane area since January 2 but is now elsewhere must quarantine wherever they are. They'll also need to wear a mask when they leave their homes — for one of the four reasons permitted during Greater Brisbane's lockdown.
Other states and territories around the country have also been implementing their own restrictions on folks from Greater Brisbane, or who've visited there recently — and on the entirety of Queensland in some instances. As has been the case for much of 2020, the rules vary depending on the state and territory. As today's development's have shown, they're changing fast.
At the time of writing, Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services advises that anyone who has arrived in Victoria from Greater Brisbane since January 2 should get tested, and remain at home or wherever they're staying until Monday, January 11, when a further assessment about the situation will be made.
Tasmania has declared the Greater Brisbane region a high-risk area. Anyone who has arrived in Tasmania after spending time in Greater Brisbane since January 2 must immediately self-isolate and contact the state's Public Health Hotline, while anyone who has been in the area and intends to travel to Tassie won't be allowed to enter, unless they receive an exemption.
In the Northern Territory, travel limits have also been put in place, affecting folks from the Greater Brisbane area. The hotspot declaration came into effect this morning, on Friday, January 8, and means anyone entering the NT from the region will have to go into quarantine for two weeks.
South Australia is bringing in a quarantine requirement, too, from midnight as Saturday, January 9 begins, which means that arrivals from Greater Brisbane will need to isolate for two weeks. Anyone currently in SA who has been in the Greater Brisbane area since January 2 must get tested immediately.
The Australian Capital Territory will require anyone who has been in the Greater Brisbane area since January 2 to go into isolation for 14 days from when they were last in the area. That comes into effect from 3pm on Friday, January 8.
Over in Western Australia, a hard border has been brought back in with all of Queensland. At midnight tonight, the border will close to anyone who has been in the Sunshine State since January 2, and anyone who receives an exemption to still enter WA will have to go into quarantine for 14 days and undertake COVID-19 testing at two different points. Those currently in WA who have been in Queensland since January 2 must self-isolate until they have spent 14 days in WA, and must get tested by January 12 and then have another test on day 11 of their quarantine.
For more information about the status of COVID-19 in Australia, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.
Published on January 08, 2021 by Sarah Ward