Health departments and travellers hoping to getaway for Easter are watching the coronavirus situation in Queensland closely, as Brisbane enters a three-day lockdown.
It comes after four new local COVID-19 cases were detected, with officials also revealing two infected people had travelled to Byron Bay.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the shutdown on Monday morning, and said it would affect greater Brisbane—including Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redlands—from 5pm.
Masks are now compulsory indoors and on public transport, with gatherings limited to 30 people.
Premier Palaszczuk urged other state leaders to declare Brisbane a hot spot.
“My recommendation to other states and territories is that they should declare this greater Brisbane a hot spot as well,” she said. “That worked very well when we did that last time.
“Once we declare it, we are asking other people around the country to do that same thing and declare it as well.”
The state’s Health Minister, Yvette D’ath, said two infected people had been in NSW.
“I will be making a phone call to the NSW health minister after this press conference as well, particularly because two individuals have been in Byron Bay while they have been infectious,” she said.
NSW Health officials have pleaded with travellers who entered the state from Brisbane to monitor for symptoms and stay abreast of the “unpredictable” situation.
NSW has not shut down its borders to Queensland, but health authorities have asked travellers entering Sydney to complete a passenger declaration form if they have been to the Brisbane City Council or Moreton Bay Regional Council areas since 11 March.
As it stands, you do not need a border pass to enter Queensland from any Australian state or territory. Virgin Australia has also clarified that all of its services to and from Brisbane today are operating as normal, despite its Guest Contact Centre experiencing “higher than normal call volumes”.
The airline recommended customers who are not travelling in the next 72 hours should call back at a later stage.
However, the states and territories have their own requirements for arrivals from Queensland, with Tasmania banning arrivals from any of the “high-risk” exposure sites across Brisbane in the 14 days before arriving, unless approved as an essential traveller.
While South Australia, the NT and the ACT will require a negative COVID-19 test result after arriving from Brisbane before being able to travel, Western Australia requires arrivals from all of Queensland to be tested and self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of the result.
Victoria requires arrivals to fill out a permit form and recently listed Brisbane and Moreton Bay as ‘orange zones’ under its permit system.
This means if you have been in those local government areas (excluding passage through areas to the airport) you must apply for an orange permit, self-isolate on arrival, be tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours and isolate until a negative result is received.
Featured image source: Brisbane Airport Corporation