Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has insisted she will not hesitate to “slam the borders shut” to NSW if COVID-19 resurges there.
“If the chief health officer gives me advice for a hard border closure with NSW, we will not hesitate to do that,” Premier Palaszczuk said. “Every single day we are monitoring what is happening in NSW.”
The announcement came after the state announced on Friday that it would effectively ban those from the western Sydney City of Fairfield, with Queensland residents who have passed through forced into two-week quarantine and everyone else turned away at the border.
Similar restrictions exist on ‘hotspots’ such as Sydney’s Campbelltown, Liverpool and the entire state of Victoria.
In a press conference in which she announced no new cases, Premier Palaszczuk warned of long waiting times at the state’s borders.
“I can’t do anything about that,” she said. “There will be delays, because we are protecting Queensland.
“I always take the advice of Doctor Young, our chief health officer, and that advice has stood Queensland in a very good position.”
The news comes after South Australia on Friday moved to ban anyone from Victoria from entering their state – including SA residents looking to return home.
Currently, residents can enter but must undertake two-weeks of quarantine and then take two COVID-19 tests.
People can pass through the border from other states, though those from NSW and the ACT will have to undergo quarantine and testing.
The hardening of borders is thought to be having a chilling effect on interstate travel, with many now frightened to plan a holiday for fears regulations could change.
In early May, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced interstate flights would return in full in July after a supposed agreement among the national cabinet.
Then, after borders began to harden, he again urged states to continue to try and open up despite the virus’ resurgence in Victoria.
Speaking in early July, PM Morrison said, “My view about people moving from New South Wales to Queensland or to South Australia or Western Australia has not changed. When you have a situation of an outbreak, you contain the outbreak. And that outbreak is presently in Melbourne.
“We need to understand what’s happened here in Victoria. What we have effectively done is Victoria has self-isolated.
“So that creates a protection for all the other states and territories at the one time and it doesn’t leave it to the arbitrary decision of one premier or another premier.
“Arbitrary decisions about state borders is a separate issue and we’ll continue to maintain our position – that Australia is one country and that response that is needed in relation to outbreaks, well, that will be put in place and that will provide the appropriate protections and that’s what’s being done.”