Qld shuts border to Sydney amid outbreak

Marty Silk
·3-min read

Queensland will close its border to greater Sydney amid an outbreak of coronavirus that has reached 70 cases in the NSW capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says people from Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Illawarra-Shoalhaven will be ordered into 14-day quarantine on arrival in Queensland from 1am on Monday.

Queenslanders in the NSW capital have been given until 1am Tuesday to get home, but they will need to be tested for COVID-19 and go into self-isolation on arrival.

"If you are from greater Sydney now is not the time to travel to Queensland," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"We love you, we want you to have a peaceful Christmas at home, and hopefully in the months to come we'll be able to welcome you back to our wonderful Sunshine State, but now is not the time."

The premier said police checkpoints will return to the state's road borders with NSW and at the state's airports, just three weeks after they were removed.

Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the checkpoints will be set up as soon as possible.

"So anyone that's in Sydney now thinking 'I can drive through to Queensland and slip through', they will probably find a checkpoint by the time they get here," he warned.

Commissioner Gollschewski said home quarantine orders will also be strictly enforced, with a northern beaches resident and an international flight crew member recently fined for breaches.

Ms Palaszczuk also warned venues to "get their house in order" after an inadequate check-in system at a Brisbane pub hindered the work of contact tracers earlier this week.

She said some names on paper sign-in forms at the Glen Hotel at Eight Mile Plains were illegible, making it hard to trace people who may have come into contact with a NSW COVID-19 case who visited on Tuesday.

The premier said all clubs, pubs and restaurants must implement electronic check-in systems by 3pm on Wednesday.

"As I said the majority of people are doing the right thing, but people now have had months to get their house in order and we are in a serious situation, so that means we must be able to contact trace at any step in time," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said inspectors will blitz venues and businesses across the state to enforce COVID-19 health measures from Sunday.

She also said even though many restrictions had been relaxed in recent weeks, social distancing, hygiene measures and checking into venues remain critical.

"Let's not wait until we have community transmission again before we act, COVID-19 is as contagious today as it was at the start of 2020," Ms D'Ath said.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young is worried that traces of the virus have turned up in sewage testing in tourist areas including the Gold Coast and Cairns, as well as Cleveland on Brisbane's bayside and Townsville in the state's north.

She urged anyone from Sydney, and particularly the northern beaches, who is already in Queensland to get tested.

Ms Palaszczuk said if cases continue to balloon in NSW it would be necessary to hold a national cabinet meeting.