Queensland will close its border to all of New South Wales and the ACT from 1am on Saturday.
Both NSW and the ACT have joined Victoria in being declared as coronavirus ‘hotspots’ by the Queensland government, meaning anyone travelling from the two states will soon be banned from entering Queensland.
Moreover, Queenslanders returning to their home state after travelling will be sent to mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.
In a statement, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszcuzk said: “Victoria hasn’t improved as we hoped and I won’t wait for New South Wales to get any worse”.
“I will not risk our state’s economic recovery by allowing COVID to spread. I will do everything I can to protect Queenslanders and the economy.”
The move comes after the state closed its borders to travellers from the Greater Sydney region last week, with Queensland’s Premier at the time threatening to “slam the border shut” to the entire state.
It also comes after the state on Wednesday reported one new case of COVID-19 overnight – a woman, 68, from the Ipswich area.
Speaking to the press, Palaszczuk said her decision was influenced by a number of people who had breached the state’s border requirements by lying to authorities about their whereabouts.
The crackdown will come into effect after it was also revealed that people were accessing the state through the ACT to get around tough border rules.
“This is the right decision for Queensland,” she said. “We cannot put Queenslanders at risk – it is too important.”
Plan for Tasmanian borders to open to parts of mainland Australia abandoned
In other news, Tasmania will not open its borders to South Australia, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia at the end of this week as planned, following an announcement from Premier Peter Gutwein.
The island state, which remains coronavirus free, was expected to open to SA, the NT, and WA residents on 7 August, followed by Queensland, NSW, and the ACT on 14 August.
However, Tasmania’s Premier revealed late on Monday that his government would not open the state to anyone until 31 August at the earliest.
Gutwein said his government would review Tasmania’s circumstances, and COVID-19 case figures on the mainland, on a weekly basis.
“Our number one priority through the coronavirus pandemic is the health, wellbeing and safety of Tasmanians,” he said.
“While the steps we have taken have put us in a good place, we cannot for a second, become complacent.
“It is so important that we remain vigilant, and that we continue to stick to the rules to keep Tasmanians safe and secure.”
The move also means that Tasmania will not open to Queensland, the ACT, NSW, and Victoria after 14 August, as previously indicated.
“We have taken our border restrictions very seriously and, as we have said, we continue to monitor and review the situation in other states on a daily basis,” Gutwein said.
Shots fired at Tasmania after Queensland ‘bubble’ snub
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles over the weekend offered his point-of-view on his state’s exclusion from Tasmania’s original, first round of border openings.
When asked whether he was disappointed Premier Gutwein did not include Queensland in Tasmania’s first travel bubble phase, Miles said: “we don’t need any kind of travel bubble with Tasmania”.
“I don’t see any reason why anyone would want to go to Tassie,” he said, as reported by Tasmania’s The Mercury.
“We’ve got lots of fantastic parts of Queensland to visit and I know that lots of Queenslanders are doing that right now.
“I’m sure Tassie’s a pretty place, but it’s no Queensland.
“They’ve got no reef, they don’t have the kinds of rainforests that we have, and of course, I don’t think anyone would be going to Tassie to go to the beach.
“If I was in Tasmania, I’d be a lot more interested in coming here [Queensland] than I would be in going there [Tasmania].”
Sound familiar? Miles’ comments come after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in June asked why anyone would want to go to South Australia, after the latter state reopened its borders to WA, NT and Tasmanian residents.
Featured image source: 9news.com.au