'Do not come': Qld blocks Sydney residents

 

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced tighter restrictions on NSW residents following the southern state recording 30 new cases of coronavirus.

Residents from greater Sydney have been told to not come to Queensland from 1am Monday.

"If you are a NSW resident in Greater Sydney, please do not come to Queensland.

If you are a Queenslander in Greater Sydney please come home quickly," she said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queenslanders who were in greater Sydney will have until 1am Tuesday to get home and must test for the virus upon their return and quarantine at home.

Ms Palaszczuk said the decisions shouldn't come as a surprise.

"We are in a public health emergency," she said.

The Premier urged pubs and clubs to get their "house" in order, saying contact tracing had been difficult at times because there had been illegible handwriting when people checked in.

Ms Palaszczuk said she wasn't going to allow anything to destroy Queensland's hard work.

The Premier said she hoped to see people from greater Sydney back in Queensland in months to come.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the greater Sydney hotspot included all of Sydney and the Central Coast.

Dr Young said she didn't think many exemptions would be given.

NSW on Sunday said it had recorded 30 new cases of coronavirus, with 28 of them directly linked to the Avalon cluster.

The two other cases are still under investigation but both live on the Northern Beaches.

Queensland recorded two new cases of COVID-19 overnight, with both cases being detected in hotel quarantine after being acquired overseas. Eleven active cases remain in the Sunshine State today.

Victoria on Sunday also announced its border would close to greater Sydney and the Central Coast from 11.59pm Sunday.

Western Australia had already put up its hard border again, banning anyone coming from NSW. That came into effect Saturday night.

Dr Young said this afternoon that she was concerned about positive COVID-19 results in sewage tests in northern Cairns, Townsville, Cleveland and the Gold Coast.

"I am concerned that we potentially do have people across Queensland who are active COVID-19 cases - so it is really important if you have any symptoms to get tested and isolate yourself until you have a result."

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced NSW's additional 30 cases this morning, along with tighter restrictions.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Picture: AAP / Dan Himbrechts pool via NCA NewsWire
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Picture: AAP / Dan Himbrechts pool via NCA NewsWire

She said the cases were contracted through community transmission in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday but insisted there was no "evidence of massive seeding outside of the Northern Beaches community".

The total number of cases now included in the cluster is now 66.

Premier Berejiklian did agree it was "worrying" that NSW Health experts have not yet been able to track down the source of the Avalon cluster but is "extremely grateful" that they've been able to receive so much detail about the venues the infected cases had been to.

"What is most important, is for us to act in an appropriate way to try and stop the spread as much as we can," she said.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant also revealed that no working airline staff in the state had tested positive to COVID and that all quarantine exemptions had been reviewed to ensure they haven't tested positive.

The new NSW restrictions announced today ask for those in the Greater Sydney area to not have more than 10 people in their home in addition to whoever lives in the home until midnight Wednesday.

All hospitality venues, all indoor venues, places of worship and all settings will revert back to the four square metre rule, with a cap on those setting at 300. Singing and chanting will also not be allowed except in places of worship, with the activities deemed highly "dangerous".

"This does not affect regional NSW at this stage but it does affect greater Sydney, the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains areas so until further notice" Ms Berejiklian added.

The 300 person cap is being done to ensure that NSW Health "doesn't have to scramble for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people in case of a potential COVID seeding event in the community", the Premier said.

"We know there will be a maximum of 300 in any venue to make sure that Health is able to get on top of the contact-tracing" Ms Berejiklian added.

The no dancing rule has come back into effect as well, with only 20 people allowed to dance at wedding parties in greater Sydney, Blue Mountains and the Central Coast.

"If we continue to work together and see things improve, obviously we'll be able to reassess these settings moving forward." Ms Berejiklian added.

The current restrictions will be reassessed on Wednesday morning by health experts and "others" who will advise the Government on the best move forward.

"I'm hoping certainly that we see things improve but there's no doubt that having an additional 30 cases in the community is a concern" she said.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant confirmed investigations are ongoing into the two new cases this morning that aren't confirmed to be related to the Avalon cluster, but do live in the northern beaches area.

"It is important that once we have a strong focus on the Northern Beaches, it is important that we remain vigilant across NSW." she said.

"We know people from the Northern Beaches may have travelled since this outbreak emerged … those individuals are expected to comply with the same requirements as Northern Beaches residents are required to undergo - the stay-home orders until further notice on Wednesday."

"But it is important that we detect any seeding events and remember we also haven't mapped out the exact path by which this infection seeded the Northern Beaches.

"Because of those levels of uncertainty it is critical that anyone with symptoms across NSW presents for testing if they have the most minor of symptoms and also that everyone plays their part by monitoring the website and if new sites come up, please follow the public health advice."

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard commended his fellow Northern Beaches residents in complying with the government's requests over the past couple of days, including the increased usage of masks.

"Across the whole of Greater Sydney it would make a lot of sense for people to be wearing masks at the present time" he said.

The Minister also took aim at those in the Northern Beaches area who are playing the "blame game" and singling out individuals who might've "brought the virus into the community".

"At any time any of us could be vulnerable to this virus. It is an extremely dangerous virus. There is absolutely no evidence to indicate that any person deliberately, knowing they had the virus, came into the Northern Beaches." he added.

The Health Minister did admit the stay home order would be tough for those wanting to visit loved ones over the next week for festive celebrations, but urged that our "most vulnerable need our greatest protection".

"I know we all want to see our family, we all want to visit our family, we all want to visit our friends who are in aged care facilities and people who have disabilities … but the best Christmas gift you can give them is make it a phone call," he said.

On the topic of banning singing and chanting, Minister Hazzard said they'd had so many requests asking to allow it to go ahead in previous months, especially within the festive season, but has warned it's one of the most "dangerous" ways to spread COVID.

"If you needed to be reminded of that just watch the video from the Avalon RSL when people are out enjoying themselves. Unfortunately someone was amongst them who had the virus and so many people have now got it." he added.

Fines for breaching COVID restrictions are $1000 for an individual and $5000 for a corporation.

The new cases come after Queensland reintroducing border passes on Saturday and hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders being urged to get tested for coronavirus as an unfolding COVID-19 crisis in NSW threatens to wreck Christmas.

Queensland's new restrictions were introduced amid revelations 11 people linked to the worsening Sydney outbreak are now in Queensland.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath on Saturday also urged people living on the Gold Coast, Townsville, north Cairns and Cleveland to get tested after sewage sampling revealed traces of the deadly disease.

Gold Coast police say they are ready to barricade the border within 24 hours if the State Government gives the order as the pre-Christmas COVID-19 crisis deepens.

Sydney is facing a return to life under restrictions with repeated visits by a confirmed case at a popular Avalon gym now sparking NSW Health warnings for new locations in the inner city, the inner west, and the mid north coast as well as on the northern beaches.

NSW Health had on Saturday revised its COVID warnings for several hundred people and backdated some of its testing and isolation advice for patrons of Anytime Fitness on Avalon Parade to November 23 as residents in the northern beaches were placed in to an emergency four-day lockdown to contain a rapidly ballooning COVID outbreak.

In regards to one woman from the Northern Beaches who was travelling in Queensland when she tested positive for coronavirus, Queensland Health has urged anyone who was at the Glen Hotel in Eight Mile Plains on December 16 between 11am and 2.30pm to contact them if they have not heard from Queensland Health.

Some patrons who attended the venue at those times have been found to have provided illegible manual sign-in information or did not check in.

Authorities have warned that while waiting to hear from public health officials, patrons must quarantine and get a COVID-19 test.

This is to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Queensland, so authorities can identify everyone in close contact with a positive case.

STATE OF OUR BORDERS

Queensland's reintroduction of border passes on Saturday came as Victoria tightened its border with New South Wales, extending the 'orange zone' to NSW's Central Coast. But on Sunday the Victorian Premier announced their border would close to greater Sydney and the Central Coast from 11.59pm Sunday.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the Victorian government was not confident the situation in NSW remained safe, with the Berejiklian government refusing to impose mandatory mask rules and stay-at-home orders across Sydney.

All of Greater Sydney and the Central Coast will be declared a "red zone", while the Northern Beaches will be deemed a "hot zone".

Nobody from or who has visited those parts of Sydney will be allowed to travel to any part of Victoria.

Western Australia has put up its hard border again, banning anyone coming from NSW.

The hard border came into effect Saturday night.

South Australia responded by saying anyone who has visited "high community transmission zones" in Sydney's Northern Beaches Council area stretching from Manly to Palm Beach, as well as lower north shore harbourside suburb Lavender Bay and Penrith in the western suburbs, since December 11 must quarantine for a fortnight but the border remains open to NSW.

The Northern Territory has declared the Northern Beaches local government area a hotspot.

Anyone planning to come have been advised to cancel their travel. Those who have been in the Northern Beaches in the 14 days before they arrive must enter supervised quarantine, in either Alice Springs or Darwin, and pay $2,500 per person.

Tasmania has also declared the Northern Beaches local government area a hotspot. people from this area are not permitted to enter Tasmania.


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