Qld border closed to NSW hotspots, jail for COVID breaches

 

THE Queensland Government has declared two Sydney suburbs as coronavirus hotspots, and will effectively close the border to anyone visiting from those areas by enforcing hotel quarantine.

Queensland residents who have been in the area can return to the state but will be required to quarantine in state-provided accommodation at their own expense.

It has also said it will ramp up penalties for anyone who breaches a COVID-19 health directive - meaning anyone ignoring social distancing rules or lying about where they've been when crossing the border could face up to six months behind bars.

The maximum penalty currently for breaching Queensland's public health orders is $4003, but Deputy Premier Steven Miles said in some cases the fine wasn't sufficient.

It comes as Campbelltown and Liverpool in New South Wales were this morning declared COVID-19 hotspots and will face the stricter quarantine measures from noon today.

"Queenslanders who travelled to either of those hotspots, or any of the hotspots in Victoria ... all of Victoria is deemed a hotspot, will need to when they come back into Queensland go into 14 days quarantine in a hotel," Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said.

She said a hotspot was declared when there were growing numbers of cases and community transmission.

"We've seen initial cases of people who went to that hotel on the third of July and then we've seen subsequent infections from those cases," she said.

Eighteen Queensland residents who visited the Crossroads Hotel in New South Wales, the centre a coronavirus outbreak in that state, have been tested for COVID-19.

The results of their test are not yet known.


Queensland recorded zero new cases in the past 24 hours. The number of active cases remains at four, after one new case and two at the weekend.

All were in quarantine after travelling overseas.

Dr Young this morning said she was monitoring the situation in New South Wales as she was the entire country.

She said the Queenslanders tested after vising the Casula venue were in self-quarantine in their homes.

But she said that from midday today, anyone who comes from a declared hotspot must quarantine in a hotel.

On the potential jail time, Mr Miles said it was a move to keep Queenslanders safe.

"Perhaps people from other states think they might get away without having to pay for it," he said.

"Perhaps people think that $4000 is worth it to come to Queensland.

"So this week we will move amendments that will allow us to apply a penalty of imprisonment for breaches of those health directions.

"So the maximum penalty on the spot will be $4003 or up to six months imprisonment."

Queensland police have this week slammed "selfish" Victorians who are defying the state's border restrictions.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles revealed there’d be jail time for COVID breaches. PICTURE: Matt Taylor
Deputy Premier Steven Miles revealed there’d be jail time for COVID breaches. PICTURE: Matt Taylor

More than 1000 people travelling from the southern state have been busted trying to make it into Queensland in the four days since the border opened to everyone else.

The Gold Coast's top cop, Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler, slammed the behaviour of travellers ignoring the state's border restrictions on anyone who has been in Victoria in the past 14 days.

"It's frustrating, it's disappointing and it's selfish, reckless behaviour that poses a danger to our community," he said.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said the State Government would strengthen its laws to keep Queenslanders safe.

The maximum penalty currently for breaching Queensland's public health orders is $4003, but Mr Miles said in some cases the fine wasn't sufficient.

"Perhaps people from other states think they might get away without having to pay for it," he said.

"Perhaps people think that $4000 is worth it to come to Queensland.

"So this week we will move amendments that will allow us to apply a penalty of imprisonment for breaches of those health directions.

"So the maximum penalty on the spot will be $4003 or up to six months imprisonment."



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