Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the state will extend its border closure on Saturday morning to cover all of NSW and the ACT.
“We’ve seen that Victoria is not getting better and we’re not going to wait for NSW to get worse,” said Premier Palaszczuk. “We cannot risk a second wave, we have to act decisively.”
Separately, NSW announced that citizens who had travelled through Victoria would still be allowed to return home but now must undertake 14 days of hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Queensland’s latest move to shut off all of NSW and ACT comes after the state initially closed to Greater Sydney last week, following a number of ‘clusters’. However, the ACT currently has no active infections at all.
The decision means that, from 1am on Saturday, 8 August, only residents from these areas will be allowed to return to Queensland, and those that do will have to quarantine at a government facility for 14 days.
Premier Palaszczuk said the restrictions were taken after receiving advice from chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young.
Soon after talking to reporters, she posted the announcement on Twitter with a branded graphic that highlighted her name in red.
BREAKING: Queensland borders will close to New South Wales & the Australian Capital Territory from 1am Saturday, August 8.
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) August 4, 2020
Meanwhile, in NSW, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that the quarantine of people coming from Victoria would largely be restricted to returning citizens and also those with special exemptions, such as attending funerals.
“If you seek an exemption to attend the funeral of a direct family member, we can’t have you in quarantine for two weeks because you won’t be able to attend the funeral,” she said.
However, she reiterated her views that states should try to keep as open as possible.
“We are not an island, we are a state within a nation with geographic proximity to, unfortunately, other states,” Premier Berejiklian said. “We love our Victorian fellow citizens, but their rates of infection are incredibly high at the moment and not going down.”
On Monday, Australian Aviation reported how Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has called for a national framework to guide the opening and closing of state borders.
“What we’d like to see is real certainty over what’s going to happen with borders and different approaches being taken by different states,” Joyce said. “The principle we all agree on is that health has to be the top priority but the medical experts have said it’s not elimination we’re after, it’s suppression.”
Australian Aviation has rounded up all border closures in one regularly updated feature, which you can read here.