News State QLD News Qld pauses arrivals from interstate COVID hotspots

Qld pauses arrivals from interstate COVID hotspots

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Queensland will further tighten its borders for at least a fortnight, banning arrivals from COVID hotspots elsewhere in Australia.
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Queensland will put a pause on interstate arrivals from NSW, Victoria and the ACT for at least two weeks.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state’s hotel quarantine was at capacity and arrivals from COVID hotspots would be put on hold for a fortnight.

“No one currently in a declared hotspot will be permitted to enter Queensland’s hotel quarantine for two weeks, except for those with exemptions such as compassionate reasons. New arrivals and Queensland residents will have to reapply for a border pass,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“We simply do not have any room at the moment. Queensland is being loved to death.”

There are 5114 people in hotel quarantine in the state, including 3257 domestic arrivals.

The pause will begin at midday Wednesday (AEST).

People with compassionate exemptions and medical exemptions will still be allowed to enter. Those who are relocating from other states will need to wait.

Once the pause is lifted, everyone with flights booked and border exemption passes will need to rebook under a new system, which is still being set up. It will allocate specific hotel quarantine rooms to incoming travellers.

“Not only are our hotels stretched, but our staff are stretched. We don’t want to see Delta coming into our communities,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

State authorities also confirmed on Wednesday that two truck drivers who initially tested positive for the virus in NSW had been declared non-cases.

The positive results were revealed on Tuesday, with health authorities on alert for another virus outbreak in Queensland.

The pair, who live in the Sunshine Coast and Somerton regions, were retested twice in Queensland, returning negative results.

On Wednesday, Ms Palaszczuk said they had been deemed false-positives.

Elsewhere, about 120 Australian Defence Force troops will arrive on the Queensland border to back-up police on Wednesday.

Queensland Health has confirmed that strict border controls could remain in place until early November.

“The chief health officer hopes restrictions will be in place no longer than 10 weeks, however nothing has been formalised to that effect,” the department said on Tuesday.

“This is based on the timeframe in which we hope to have 70 per cent of Queenslanders fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (ie: have received two doses).”

“We regularly review restrictions and will ease or lift them as soon as it is safe to do so, however the reality is outbreaks in southern states will not just disappear over the next few weeks.

“These outbreaks are claiming lives and devastating communities.

“Until we have achieved a high vaccination rate, measures like border restrictions are unfortunately necessary to keep Queenslanders safe from incursions.”

On Wednesday, Ms Palaszczuk said 47 per cent of Queenslanders had had first COVID doses, while 28.29 per cent were fully vaccinated.

Queensland had no new cases of COVID on Wednesday.

covid vaccine
Demand for COVID vaccines has surged again in Victoria, with anyone 16 and over able to get a shot. Photo: Getty

Victoria’s ‘outbreak of the young’

Victoria has 45 more local COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, as the state government’s vaccination website crashed as thousands of young people tried to secure a booking.

Health Minister Martin Foley said 36 cases were linked to known outbreaks.

The source of the remaining nine infections are under investigation.

Twenty-eight cases were not isolating and infectious in the community.

“In many ways, this particular outbreak continues to be an outbreak of young people,” Mr Foley said.

“Of the current 538 active cases we have in Victoria, 114 are aged under nine, 101 are aged between 10 and 19, and 89 are in their 20s.”

He said the recent trend of lower cases in Victoria was “heartening”.

“We know that numbers bounce around. And it is the trend that the public health officials, in particular, frame their advice to government and their decisions around,” he said.

“It’s our public health officials who still tell us there is a lot of work to do to make sure that, as we take vaccination rates up, we bring infection levels down.”

Victoria has 36 virus patients in hospital. Among them are nine in intensive care, including seven on ventilators.

In the ACT, there were nine more local infections on Wednesday. They take the national capital’s outbreak to 176 cases.

Eight of the new cases are linked and four were infectious while in the community.

An unvaccinated woman in her 40s remains in intensive care, with six other people also in hospital.

Elsewhere, New Zealand reported another 62 cases on Wednesday. Its Delta outbreak has risen to 210 infections, with 12 patients in hospital.

-with AAP