Queensland closes border to Melbourne
Queensland will close its border to residents of greater Melbourne from 1am on Saturday and will carry out contact tracing for 1500 people in the Sunshine State following the announcement of a five-day lockdown in Melbourne.
The border will remain closed for two weeks.
Victorian premier Dan Andrews on Friday confirmed residents will be sent into another hard lockdown from 11.59pm, with stage four restrictions reintroduced until 11.59pm Wednesday.
Deputy Premier and acting health minister Steven Miles said he welcomed the Victorian announcement today, which has plunged the southern state into a five day lockdown.
Mr Miles said he hoped this third "hammer style" lockdown would be as effective as the last two in greater Brisbane and Perth.
The Deputy Premier said Queensland was shutting the border to 36 local government areas in greater Melbourne, which is the same as the previous lockdown.
In Melbourne, face coverings will once again be mandatory outdoors as well as indoors.
Stay-at-home orders will be reintroduced, with only five legal reasons to leave the house.
A 5km limit on travel will also be enforced.
Schools and universities will close, and both private and public gatherings banned.
Mr Miles said he hoped the five days announced by Victoria was long enough.
Mr Miles said Melbourne's situation cemented Queensland's argument for there to be dedicated quarantine facilities.
"One thing we can say is that Victoria probably wouldn't be going into this kind of lock down if there were dedicated quarantining facilities," he said.
He said the hotel hallway had been the vector for the virus spreading outside the initial room.
Mr Miles said the Queensland Government had been saying for some time that hotel hallways weren't designed for quarantine use, with no air-conditioning or venting of air.
He said cabins had front doors that opened to the open air, and were a much better option.
He said having a dedicated workforce to work at quarantine facilities would also drastically lessen the risk, pointing to the fact "thousands and thousands of people" had now come into contact with casual workers at Melbourne airport who were also working in hotel quarantine.
Acting chief health officer Sonya Bennett said authorities expected to see community transmission in Victoria.
"We recognise that closing the borders is difficult for everybody and ... because we haven't seen community transmission we will review it at 14 days," Ms Bennett said.
Dr Bennett said 1500 people who went through terminal four on the day that an infectious person was working at Melbourne airport.would be contacted by Queensland health authorities.
She said the main people of concern for Queensland authorities were those who had travelled through terminal four.
"1500 is a relatively large number and they will be scattered around the state," she said.
She said people who had been in areas where infected people had been in should immediately isolate and get tested.
The complete list has been published by Victorian authorities.
Police won't raise hard road borders, believing they will be able to manage the border closure without them.
Authorities would be talked through their exposure risks.
There were no new COVID-19 cases in Queensland overnight.
The border closure means Queenslanders returning to the Sunshine State over the next 14 days will need to undergo hotel quarantine if they have been in greater Melbourne.
Queensland is also reintroducing border passes for visitors from the Garden State tonight as the government moves to protect the Sunshine State against Melbourne's Holiday Inn cluster, which has grown to 13 cases.
As of 1am Saturday, anyone entering Queensland who has been in Victoria on or since January 29 will have to apply for a border declaration pass.
Victorian travellers will need to declare if they have or haven't been to any of the exposure sites listed by Victoria's Department of Health.
Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said police would not be reinstating hard road border closures at this stage, but said authorities would continue to monitor the situation.
"As of 1am tomorrow morning we will go to this new system, that will involve for anyone coming out of Victoria, they're required to have a border declaration pass," he said.
"For Queenslanders who are intending to travel to Victoria at the moment, they must be aware of what their requirements are locally, which is a five day lockdown, and that they will then be subject to the same requirements coming back into our state."
Originally published as Qld closes border to Melbourne, 1500 to be contact traced