Queensland’s border will again close to New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland premier Annastacia Palasczuk announced in a press conference this morning.
All visitors from NSW and the ACT will be refused entry to Queensland from 1am on Saturday August 8. Queenslanders returning from NSW or the ACT will be required to undergo hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense. Queensland’s chief health officer, Jeannette Young, has declared NSW and the ACT Covid-19 hotspots.
“I said that when the moment came, I would not hesitate,” Palaszczuk said.
The move comes as Queensland today registered one new case of Covid-19, and a day after it was discovered that three Queensland men allegedly failed to disclose travel to Victoria on their border declarations. Last week, police charged three Queensland women with fraud and providing false and misleading border documents after they lied to health officials to evade quarantine upon returning from a trip to Melbourne via Sydney by plane.
“We cannot risk a second wave,” Palaszczuk said. “We have to act decisively.”
Residents living along the border will still be allowed to cross between the two states, along with essential workers. Anyone else will be stopped and turned around unless they have an exemption under the incoming rules.
Palaszczuk acknowledged the move would be tough on Queensland’s small businesses, but said the state couldn’t afford to end up in a situation like Victoria’s. The southern state has accumulated record numbers of new coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with Melburnians currently living under a restrictive stage-four lockdown.
“This is a life and death situation here,” she said.
The closure comes barely a month after borders were reopened to residents of New South Wales, South Australia, ACT, Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.