Queensland border to close to all NSW

Queensland has recorded no new COVID-19 cases as the state prepares to ease restrictions on Friday.
Queensland has recorded no new COVID-19 cases as the state prepares to ease restrictions on Friday.

Queensland will close its border to NSW for four weeks amid concerns of COVID-19 cases coming into the state.

Border zones will be re-established however residents living in the nominated zone will only be able to enter QLD for a limited range of reasons, including health care, work, education, essential shopping and if they provide care to vulnerable people.

In turn, Queenslanders will also be able to travel into the NSW border zone for similar reasons, but not further than the border zone.

Queensland residents can return from non-border zone locations in New South Wales, but will need to complete 14 days in hotel quarantine.

The border has already been closed to Greater Sydney for weeks but the state will shut the border to the rest of NSW from 1am tomorrow (Friday, July 23).

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says the border needs to close to protect the community when social distancing restrictions in Queensland ease from 6am on Friday.

He says there's now too much risk of COVID-19 cases getting into Queensland through regional NSW from outbreaks Sydney, Victoria and South Australia.

"Our border is effectively closed to those people already, but in order to be able to ease these restrictions, as I've outlined, we need to close the border to the rest of NSW," Mr Miles told reporters.

"That will mirror the arrangements currently in place in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania."

Mr Miles said the bubble would cover 17 local government areas which include Glen Innes Severn, Gwydir, Inverell and Moree Plains and Walgett locally.

Police checkpoints and barriers will also be set up at various points along the QLD-NSW road borders.

Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski urged any QLD residents in NSW to come home before 1am on Friday to avoid being placed in quarantine.

"If they come through tomorrow, and they're coming out of a hotspot that can be expected to put into hotel quarantine," he said.

Queensland will also continue a face mask mandate, due to end on Friday, for another seven days.

Masks must be worn at all times, including outdoors, unless people are eating or drinking.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said a number of virus restrictions would be eased across Queensland, with one person per two square metres allowed in hospitality venues.

Currently, the capacity is one person per four square metres.

Up to 100 people will be allowed in private homes, up from 30 currently, and the number of guests allowed at weddings and funerals will go up from 100 to 200.

However, she said stadiums and ticketed venues would have to operate at 75 per cent capacity for the next month.

The mask mandate will now apply to people inside stadiums unless they're eating or drinking, due to concern about the Delta variant spreading like it did in the MCG.

No new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Queensland on Thursday.

The border closure comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged Queenslanders, particularly older people, not wait for another potential COVID-19 outbreak before getting their vaccine.

"I'd be saying to everyone in Queensland, don't wait for what's happening in another state to potentially happen in your state," Mr Morrison told Brisbane radio 4BC.

"This is the thing with the Delta variant, it can move very quick and those systems aren't 100 per cent foolproof. The world knows that.

"So please Queensland, particularly if you're in the older population, please go and get that AstraZeneca. It's a totally safe vaccine, the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) would not have approved it if it were not."

Australian Associated Press