Queensland is prepared to ‘slam the border shut’ and ban all New South Wales residents as COVID-19 clusters in Sydney continue to grow.
The Queensland government drew criticism when it closed the state’s borders to all travellers between March and July, but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she’s ready and willing to do it again.
‘If there are outbreaks of community transmission or it cannot be sourced or there are clusters, we will not hesitate to declare hotspots or we will not hesitate – if it gets out of control – to slam the border shut,’ she told reporters on Monday.
The warning comes as even more NSW residents will be blocked from entering Queensland from Monday.
The Fairfield area in Sydney’s west has been declared a hotspot. All residents or anyone who has visited the suburbs within the council area will be banned from crossing the border.
Liverpool and Campbelltown in NSW are also declared hotspots, as is the entire state of Victoria.
Current travel restrictions will prevent more than 600,000 Sydney residents from entering the Sunshine State.
Ms Palaszczuk says any decisions on further hotspots or border closures will be made on the advice of Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young.
‘That advice has stood Queensland in a very good position,’ the premier said.
‘Every single day we are monitoring the situation in NSW.’
Queensland recorded no new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours and there are just five active cases in the state.
It follows the winding back of some freedoms in Queensland restaurants, pubs and clubs.
All patrons will have to be seated when drinking or eating, the CHO announced on Friday, blindsiding the hospitality industry.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington says business deserved more warning.
‘The premier is creating this chaos … at five minutes to midnight the premier is changing the rules and businesses can’t keep up,’ Ms Frecklington said.
‘The businesses are telling me they need lead time. The premier needs to give business more notice in terms of regulations.’
Her call for more consideration for businesses comes as Queensland maintains its tight hold over coronavirus with no new positive tests reported on Monday and just five active cases across the state.
Treasurer Cameron Dick said ‘complacency is the enemy’ and the way to stay on top of the pandemic was to remain vigilant.
‘The virus is so unpredictable. It’s only reason for existence is to find another host to infect another person. We just need to monitor it so carefully to ensure when we need to take action we will,’ he told reporters on Sunday.
It comes as Victoria recorded 532 more COVID-19 cases and six more deaths.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday said five of those six deaths are connected to outbreaks in aged care.
The deaths take the state toll to 77 and the national figure to 162.
NSW recorded 14 new cases on Sunday including six associated with the Thai Rock Wetherill Park cluster with two of these also linked to Our Lady of Lebanon Church.
Four cases were associated with a cluster tied to a funeral service at St Brendan’s Catholic Church, Bankstown on July 18.
Georges River Grammar School in Georges Hall was also temporarily closed for cleaning after a child who attended the school tested positive. The child is linked with the funeral service cluster in southwestern Sydney.
NSW Health later on Sunday urged anyone who attended the Thai Rock restaurant in Potts Point for more than two hours between July 15 and July 25 to get tested and self-isolate for 14 days since they were last there, regardless of symptoms.
Residents across the state have been urged to avoid all non-essential travel and gatherings with NSW Health particularly worried about transmission in hotels, restaurants, gyms and social gatherings.
People should also consider wearing a mask in situations where they are unable to practise social distancing.
NSW has now recorded 3479 cases – up 249 in the past 21 days.