Queensland shuts border to all of NSW

·3-min read

Queensland will close its border to NSW for four weeks as authorities work to prevent COVID-19 spreading from outbreaks interstate while relaxing restrictions internally.

The border has already been closed to Greater Sydney for weeks and will shut to the rest of NSW from 1am on Friday.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says the closure is needed to protect the community as social distancing restrictions in Queensland ease from 6am on Friday.

He says there's now too much risk of COVID-19 cases getting in through regional NSW from outbreaks in Sydney, Victoria and South Australia.

"Our border is effectively closed to those people already, but in order to be able to ease these restrictions ... we need to close the border to the rest of NSW," Mr Miles told reporters.

The ACT will not be declared a hotspot, but authorities warned they are "monitoring the situation" given it's proximity to NSW.

A new border bubble zone will be set up for NSW residents as far south as the Clarence River Valley and as far west as the SA border.

It will cover 17 local government areas where residents are able to cross into Queensland for essential reasons such as work, education, caregiving or essential shopping.

Checkpoints will be set up at various points along the road borders and Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski urged Queensland residents to come home before the deadline to avoid hotel quarantine.

"If they come through tomorrow and they're coming out of a hotspot, they can be expected to put into hotel quarantine," he said.

The advice comes as a person faces a $1300 fine after being caught trying to escape from hotel quarantine in Brisbane via the fire escape.

Queensland will also extend a face mask mandate, due to end on Friday, for another seven days.

Masks must be worn at all times in the southeast, including outdoors, but other restrictions will ease including a doubling of capacity in hospitality venues.

Up to 100 people will be allowed in private homes, up from 30, and the number of guests allowed at weddings and funerals will go up from 100 to 200.

However, stadiums and ticketed venues will have to operate at 75 per cent capacity for the next month.

The mask mandate will now apply to people inside stadiums unless they're eating or drinking, due to concern about the Delta variant spreading like it did at the MCG.

The border closure follows encouragement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison for Queenslanders, particularly older people, not to wait to get the vaccine.

"I'd be saying to everyone in Queensland, don't wait for what's happening in another state to potentially happen in your state," Mr Morrison told Brisbane radio 4BC.

"So please Queensland, particularly if you're in the older population, please go and get that AstraZeneca. It's a totally safe vaccine, the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) would not have approved it if it were not."

The comments come as Dr Young again highlighted issues with Pfizer supply.

""It's a bit hard to discuss vaccine hesitancy when, to be blunt, we don't have enough vaccine to offer," she said.

No new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Queensland on Thursday.

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