Queensland has become the latest state to shut its border to the entirety of Sydney and surrounding areas in response to growing Covid-19 cases. From 1am Thursday morning, Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong, and Shellharbour will all be considered hotspots by Queensland authorities and not allowed to enter the state.
Travel exemptions will be granted to returning Queensland residents or those with an actual reason for coming to the state. Any people arriving will be required to complete 14 days in hotel quarantine. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland could not afford to have Covid-19 infiltrate the state. “We know this Delta variant is much more infectious than other variants, and we have serious concerns,” she said.
“We want everyone to be safe, and we wish NSW the very best in getting on top of this particular variant … We’re going well here in Queensland, and we want to continue to keep Queenslanders safe.” Here’s how other states have so far responded to Sydney’s outbreak.
SA Premier Steven Marshall announced harsh border restrictions on Wednesday afternoon were only returning South Australians, people genuinely relocating to the state, or those granted an exemption could enter. Mr. Marshall said a 100km border buffer would be in place to allow residents from cross-border communities to go about their lives and enter.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said: “We’ve been monitoring the situation closely and have scaled up our border controls as required to keep our community safe.” “Naturally, these immediate changes will cause inconvenience, but the hard border is necessary to protect the health of Western Australians.
Mr. McGowan said the NSW government should “crush and kill” the virus as soon as possible for everyone’s sake. “I’d just urge the NSW government to get this under control because this is a threat and a risk to the rest of the country,” he said. “If that means a lockdown, well, then that’s what should happen.”
Travel into WA from NSW is banned for all but those eligible for exemptions, a group that includes senior government officials and active military personnel, members of federal parliament, a person carrying out functions under Commonwealth law, a person responsible for transport freight or logistics, and anyone who is given approval. The final category includes compassionate reasons, such as anyone who traveled to NSW recently and needs to return to Western Australia.
Exempt travelers must self-quarantine for 14 days, present for a Covid-19 test within 48 hours, get a trial if symptoms develop, and be tested on day 11. Anyone who recently arrived from NSW before the hard border was reintroduced, and has been to an exposure site during the relevant times, must self-quarantine for two weeks and be tested immediately and on day 11. The restrictions also apply to anyone in NSW and not subsequently in a “shallow risk” jurisdiction for 14 days.
Tasmania declared the City of Sydney, Randwick, Inner West, Woollahra, Waverly, Canada Bay, and Bayside as “high-risk areas”, meaning people traveling from those areas will not be permitted into the state. The restrictions will begin at 4pm on Wednesday.
Victoria slammed its border shut to the seven Sydney local government areas at 1am on Wednesday after they were declared “red zones” under the state’s travel permit system. Victorian residents who have traveled within one of those red zones (other than for transit) can obtain a permit to re-enter the state, but they must quarantine at home for 14 days.
Non-Victorian residents who have been within a red zone, other than for transit, cannot enter Victoria. “If you try to enter Victoria at a land border from a red zone without a permit, you will be sent back,” a statement from Victoria’s health department said. “If you enter at an airport or seaport from a red zone without a permit, you will be fined and will stay in hotel quarantine until return transport is arranged.”
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
The ACT will introduce a new “stay-at-home” requirement for anyone who enters the ACT from the same seven LGAs, beginning at 4pm. Travelers who had been in the broader Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Nepean Blue Mountains, Wollongong, and Shellharbour regions of NSW areas, as well as the listed LGAs, must complete an online declaration on the COVID-19 website.
The form will become available from 6pm. “This is to ensure we can contact people if travel directions need to be escalated in the coming days,” ACT Health said. “ACT Health is continuing to monitor the situation very closely and will put in place further directions if required to keep our community safe. We will provide regular updates on the evolving situation.” The restrictions will remain in place for one week, finishing on June 30 at 11.59pm.
Chief health officer Hugh Heggie has declared Greater Metropolitan Sydney and the Blue Mountains and Wollongong local government areas as hotspots from 6pm on Wednesday. The Waverley Council and Woollahra Council areas also remain hotspots. Anyone who has been to a hotspot must undertake 14 days of quarantine at the Alice Springs or Howard Springs quarantine facilities.
People may still pass through Sydney Airport because it is not a hotspot. Testing and quarantine directions are in place for people who had arrived before the deadline, including those who visited exposure sites in NSW and are deemed close or casual contacts. “Declaring hotspots is never easy, but from the learnings we have had, we know that we need to go hard and wide early to protect the health and safety of Territorians,” Dr. Heggie said.