Annastacia Palaszczuk has threatened to implement a ring of steel along the Queensland-NSW border as the Covid-19 crisis worsens in its southern neighbour.
The Delta outbreak in NSW continues to soar by hundreds of cases a day, with the Queensland Premier increasingly anxious the devastation is edging closer to her border.
Armidale in regional NSW, about 200km from Queensland, was plunged into a week-long lockdown over the weekend after reporting two new infections in the area, and Tamworth also became a restricted area on Monday.
Both areas are now under the same stay-at-home orders as Sydney and Newcastle.
“We are absolutely concerned about what is happening in NSW,” Ms Palaszczuk told reporters on Monday morning.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned she could ramp up restrictions on the border with NSW. NCA NewsWire / Sarah MarshallSource:News Corp Australia
The crisis in NSW continues to worsen. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dylan CokerSource:News Corp Australia
“The further north the virus travels is alarming for us, so we’ll be watching that incredibly carefully.
“We already have those border patrols in place at present, but if we have to go harder, we will.”
Authorities have closed the border to NSW and restricted entries to Queensland residents only and those who have been given travel exemptions for the purposes of work or health concerns.
But the Premier said she would not hesitate to ramp this up if the threat edged nearer.
“We'll have to be stopping everyone,” Ms Palaszczuk said. “We're very concerned at the moment. We’re not at that stage, but if we have to go harder, we will.”
After Ms Palaszczuk issued her warning, NSW health authorities revealed the outbreak had moved right onto Queensland’s doorstep, with a new case detected overnight in a Sydney man in his 50s who had travelled to the Byron Bay area.
“Investigations are underway into the source of his infection and venues he may have visited in the area,” NSW Health said a in a statement.
“As a precaution everybody who is in the following local government areas should immediately isolate and have a Covid-19 test if they have even the mildest of symptoms: Byron Shire, Richmond Valley, Tweed, Lismore, Kyogle and Ballina.”
Premier Palaszczuk has threatened to close the NSW border ‘to everyone’. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan PeledSource:News Corp Australia
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant confirmed a man from Sydney who travelled to Byron Bay was in hospital and among the 283 new local infections reported in the state.
She said authorities would be investigating if the man broke health directions on his journey to the state’s north and revealed he had not checked-in at any venues during his infectious period.
“This matter is under investigation (and the man) hasn’t received any punishment,” the CHO said.
“The gentleman himself is actually in hospital and we are interviewing those (close) to him.”
In Queensland, health authorities have traced the source of the mystery infection in Cairns which was the catalyst for the far north city being plunged into a three-day lockdown.
The state recorded four new locally acquired cases on Monday but all were linked to the Delta cluster in the southeast of the state and detected while in home quarantine.
Cairns was ordered to stay at home after a taxi driver was found to have been infectious in the community for 10 days.
The cause of this man’s infection was a mystery and health authorities had feared a destructive outbreak in the state’s far north, but chief health officer Jeannette Young said genome sequencing had revealed a connection between the infections of the driver and a reef pilot detected last week.
Queensland recorded four new locally acquired cases on Monday but all were linked to the Delta cluster in the southeast of the state and detected while in home quarantine.
“We suspect it was when he drove that pilot from his home to the airport and then that pilot slid down to Brisbane so we‘re checking all of those (links) and making sure we are have all of them,” she told reporters on Monday morning.
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