Easter boom after hotspot revoked
QUEENSLAND businesses say they're overjoyed Brisbane's COVID pain appears over just 9 days after the lockdown was announced, and hope the fast response provides some confidence for Easter holiday-makers.
Greater Brisbane's status as a COVID-19 Commonwealth hotspot was yesterday revoked as Victoria and South Australia opened back up to the region following earlier concern the UK strain linked to the Hotel Grand Chancellor could spread nationally.
It came as Brisbane again recorded no new cases of community transmission, instead recording two cases in hotel quarantine.
Health Minister Greg Hunt praised the Queensland government, medical workers, pathologists and the Queensland community for their extraordinary response, which meant the hotspot designation could be lifted.
"The Prime Minister and the Australian government were very, very clear in our unequivocal support for the measures which were taken out of an abundance of precaution," he said.
"What this shows is that we are containing the virus.
"There are no remaining hotspot definitions."
Mr Hunt said Australia would still be impacted as the world battles soaring virus numbers.
"We're not out of the woods because the world isn't out of the woods," he said.
"And our challenges remain always, while there is a disease that is abroad in the rest of the world, but Australians are doing incredibly well."
Queensland business groups said this latest response had been the best in terms of its localised response and that authorities had done a better job of communicating information to the public around the reasons for it this time around.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said the industry was hopeful that business confidence would grow as authorities became "more savvy" in locally targeting their responses to clusters.
"The announcement 10 days ago now was a shock to us all and a massive inconvenience but it was the lesser of two bad scenarios for sure," he said.
"We avoided wholesale border closures from many states and it certainly is a far more cost-effective way to deal with an outbreak and if we can continue down that path of dealing with individual cases in a very targeted way … the more predictable responses can be, the better for us."
He said being able to attract Victorian and NSW travellers north for Easter was the industry's "great big hope".
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland spokeswoman Amanda Rohan said removal of the hotspot definition was good news, but variations on travel conditions and restrictions were still impacting consumer confidence.
"We hope that confidence returns quickly so businesses across the state can start rebounding," she said.
"Businesses need to know what could potentially be in store should another lockdown need to take place.
"If they can be provided with what the contingency plan is for any future three, seven or 14 day lockdowns it will provide them some ability to know what to plan for."
She said business grants, compensation or funding need to be considered for any future lockdowns.
Queensland still requires people visiting or returning from Greater Sydney to quarantine for 14 days following the northern beaches cluster outbreak which occurred just before Christmas.
Yesterday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian hit out at the continued border closures to that area.
"I can't understand why the border was closed in the first place and why the attitude of certain governments is what it is," Ms Berejiklian said.
"There isn't anywhere in Australia that's currently being designated as a hotspot.
"So why shouldn't people be able to return home? And why shouldn't Australians be able to move around freely?"
Originally published as Easter boom after hotspot revoked