Premier
Premier

Record number of motorists turned back at border

More than 250 people were turned back at Gold Coast border checkpoints on Sunday and Monday as the ban on NSW travellers kicked in.

It came as the Premier said exemptions for NSW residents in border communities travelling to Queensland for work and school could be scrapped if their state's coronavirus situation worsened.Police said a whopping 254 people were refused entry to Queensland at the five Coast border checkpoints alone in the 24 hours to 4pm today.

It was easily the biggest one-day turn-back of motorists since the border was initially closed in late March.

There were no turn-backs at Gold Coast Airport after a spate last week.

The border was slammed shut to all NSW residents, except those living on the Tweed, at 1am on Saturday.

Gold Coast and Tweed locals can criss-cross the border freely for any purpose but only within the two local government areas.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said today the Government was monitoring the situation "every single day" as she pointed to reports of untraceable community transmission in NSW.

She said there would only be limited exemptions to "keep Queenslanders safe", but acknowledged it would be "tough" for a lot of businesses.

 

Chief Health office Dr Jeannette Young is urging border communities to prepare for a complete closure of the Queensland border. Picture: Sarah Marshall
Chief Health office Dr Jeannette Young is urging border communities to prepare for a complete closure of the Queensland border. Picture: Sarah Marshall


"As soon as we have concerns - and the Chief Health Officer has concerns - that there is any risk to Queensland in those border communities, they will not have any exemptions," she said.

"So at the moment, we expect everyone to do the right thing.

"So we will monitor very closely. There are some reports in NSW of untraceable community transmission. That is of deep concern to us and we'll be monitoring it very, very closely."

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young urged everyone living in border communities to think about their "next step" if the government had to remove those exemptions, including for work and school.

"The border is difficult because people from NSW can travel into those NSW border areas and they can then pass on the infection if they have it to someone who lives in that area - who can then cross the border into Queensland," she said.

 

Exemptions allowing NSW residents to travel into Queensland could be scrapped if COVID-19 cases spread into northern NSW. Picture: Adam Head
Exemptions allowing NSW residents to travel into Queensland could be scrapped if COVID-19 cases spread into northern NSW. Picture: Adam Head

 

 

"I think that every single person who lives in any of those border communities in either Queensland or NSW needs to think 'what will I do, what will my family do if the border becomes closed because there are cases spreading north from Sydney'."

Dr Young said the most northern cases in NSW were currently in Newcastle.

"And we're keeping a very close eye on whether there are cases coming further north," she said.

"And there will, because there is free movement of course within NSW."

Originally published as Record number of motorists turned back at border



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