'Sheer lunacy': Lockdown slammed as key deadline looms

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter
·3-min read

Brisbane’s three-day lockdown to stop a highly contagious strain of Covid-19 has been labelled “sheer lunacy”.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the three-day lockdown which began at 5pm on Monday after the state reported four new cases of Covid-19.

"I didn't sleep last night,” she told reporters Monday.

"I am very worried. I am very concerned.”

Flight Centre co-founder Graham Turner has spoken out against the lockdown, saying in the Courier-Mail that the move could cost the economy billions.

The premier hopes lockdown will only last three days adding “last time was three days and that was all that was needed” but said it may be extended for a longer period.

Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk is pictured.
Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks to the media on Monday. Source: ABC

Ms Palaszczuk was referring to the snap three-day lockdown which occurred in January over fears the same strain, B117 from the UK, had entered the community.

The premier said the decision on whether restrictions will be extended will come down to how contact tracers go over the next day or so.

If lockdown goes past 5pm Thursday, it means Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich and the Moreton Bay Region will have restrictions going into Good Friday and the Easter long weekend.

Snap Brisbane lockdown could cost $2b

Mr Turner told The Courier-Mail he believes the snap lockdown could cost the economy up to $2 billion.

“Locking Brisbane down will have a short-range three-day ­effect, it will cost $1b-$2b, but the impact will last longer, and just as domestic travel was coming back,” Mr Turner told The Courier Mail.

“There is one word that can describe it, it is sheer lunacy.”

People are seen wearing face masks on the Queen Street Mall in the Brisbane CBD.
People walk through the Queen Street Mall on Monday. Source: Getty Images

Cairns Adventure Group director Roderic Rees told the ABC “the timing of it couldn't be worse”.

Mr Rees added he understood “it’s a health crisis first”.

"It's a real kick in the teeth to us up here,” he said.

Passengers check in for flights out of Brisbane, Monday.
People check in for flights at Brisbane Airport on Monday. Source: AAP

Restaurant and Catering Association CEO Wes Lambert told Yahoo Finance “it’s a crushing blow”.

“With school holidays and Easter just days away, the recently announced lockdown could be the final blow for many businesses who have spent more than 12 months struggling to survive,” Mr Lambert said.

“However, this lockdown is different. There is no JobKeeper safety net for these businesses, and little to no support will be forthcoming until after the lockdown is over.”

Mr Lambert claims Brisbane businesses are looking at $50 million in lost revenue.

Brisbane residents are seen exiting a grocery store in Brisbane.
Brisbane residents buy groceries ahead of lockdown. Source: AAP

Expert, PM back snap Brisbane lockdown

However, University of NSW Professor of Biosecurity Raina MacIntyre told the ABC's 7.30 this lockdown will act “as a circuit breaker” to stop any possible transmission “we don’t know about”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also backed the snap lockdown as a means to allow Queensland health authorities to get on top of the latest outbreak.

"Australia has been here many times before, whether it's been the recent outbreaks in Queensland, NSW, Victoria or South Australia, so we all know what to do," he wrote on Facebook.

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