BORDER BAN: Queensland closes border to NSW and ACT

 

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced Queensland will shut the border to NSW to control the spread of coronavirus. 

The ban comes as the state recorded one new coronavirus case in the Ipswich region. 

Ms Palaszczuk said a 68-year-old woman in the West Moreton area was the latest COVID case and her case was still under investigation.

Health minister Steven Miles said the state would shut out people flying in from ACT to stop people from NSW attempting to get around the border ban.

The closures will be in place from 1am on Saturday, August 8 and very few people will be except - Queenslanders returning to their home state will be forced into hotel quarantine for two weeks and they must return by plane.

Essential workers like truck drivers will be able to cross the border, as well as those who live in towns on the border such as Tweed Heads. 

The premier said exemptions on compassionate grounds would be limited, with both states declared coronavirus hotspots.

The new restrictions will be in place until at least the end of August. The premier said the closure would be reviewed at the end of the month. 

She said the state was happy with the situations in other states such as South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. 

The border closure comes as three men who allegedly crossed the Queensland border illegally at Coolangatta after travelling from Melbourne will appear in court amid accusations they lied on their paperwork.

Police allege one of the men admitted that he had been to Melbourne while undergoing a COVID-19 test.

All three men, from Logan, have since been tested and their results were pending on Tuesday night.

The latest border incident led to calls from Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington for mandatory maximum penalties for Queenslanders who lie about being in COVID-19 hot spots.

 

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the men entered Queensland via Coolangatta on Sunday. "(They) had a G pass, which is a pass which declared they had not been in a hotspot when in fact they had been in Melbourne and coming out of ­Victoria, so they've managed to come from all that way through Victoria-NSW border and then across our border into Queensland," he said.

"One of those persons has been tested … and in that testing process has disclosed that they've been exposed to people from Melbourne.

"Upon our investigation, we discovered the three of them, who all live in the Logan area, had been into Melbourne."

Ten notices to appear have been issued for people giving false declarations at the border over the past week.

 

Premier Annastacia Palas­zczuk said that such incidents were "undermining all of the great work Queenslanders have done".

However, there were no new cases on Tuesday as the state battles to avoid an outbreak after three women - Diana Lasu, 21, Olivia Winnie Muranga, 19, and Haja Timbo, 21 - allegedly lied to authorities to get back into Queensland from Victoria, bringing the virus with them.

The repeated breaches led to Ms Frecklington's call for mandatory maximum penalties for those convicted of lying on their border declarations.

She said that it should be up to those travelling to Queensland to prove they had not been in a hotspot.

The LNP leader, who had called for a July 1 border opening when they were shut, said there were "ways and means" for people to prove they had not been in a hotspot.

"Let's start looking outside the box here," she said.

"If you're wanting to come into Queensland and you're not coming from a hotspot, it's up to you to prove it.

"Show us receipts, show us your phone records, show us your social media accounts."

Deputy Premier Steven Miles rubbished Ms Frecklington's calls, saying that if it was up to her the border would have been open to everyone from July 1.

"That's 35 days of unrestricted access to Queensland from people who have been in hot spots in Victoria and NSW," he said.

"In that time, there have been more than 10,000 new cases in Victoria and more than 600 new cases in NSW."

He said the government had listened to health advice while the LNP "called for borders to be opened 64 times".

 

Originally published as WATCH LIVE: State awaits results after trio's border 'lie'


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