Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has taken a swipe at Gladys Berejiklian over hotel quarantine arrangements and continued criticism of border closures.
During a fiery press conference on Wednesday, Ms Palaszczuk said the nation needed to be ‘absolutely strict’ when it comes to handling returning Australians.
‘We know that with more and more people coming in, returning home from overseas, there is a higher chance of more cases in hotel quarantine, which is what we are seeing,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
‘We need to be – and as I’ve said this before – absolutely strict when it comes to our hotel quarantine in Queensland – and across the nation.’
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said hotel quarantine arrangements needed to be ‘absolutely strict’ across the nation
Ms Palaszczuk said it was ‘a bit rich’ for Gladys Berejiklian to slam other states and territories for border closures ahead of the Christmas/New Year period
NSW Health authorities are investigating whether the Avalon outbreak on Sydney’s Northern Beaches came into the community from hotel quarantine.
Ms Palaszczuk also used the press conference to slam her New South Wales counterpart for ‘blaming’ the other states and territories over hard border closures.
Ms Berejiklian on Tuesday had said other leaders had lost their nerve, sacrificed their economies and ruined Christmas for millions by shutting the borders so early.
‘It is not just Queensland that took the tough measure of shutting the border with NSW,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
‘The heath advice of nearly every other health officer across the country was advising their respective leaders exactly the same thing independently.
‘If there hadn’t been the cluster outbreak in the Northern Beaches, well no one would have had to take these measures and everybody would’ve been seeing their family and friends over this Christmas/New Year period.
A car is stopped by police officers manning a border checkpoint at Coolangatta on the Gold Coast on Tuesday (pictured)
On Sunday 20 December Victoria decided to shut its border with New South Wales after Sydney recorded just 30 Covid-19 cases, with all linked to one cluster. By contrast, New South Wales did not decide to close its border to Victoria until the state recorded 127 new local cases on 6 July, with many of them mystery cases. As only eight new cases were reported on Tuesday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said other leaders had lost their nerve, sacrificed their economies and ruined Christmas for millions by shutting the borders so early. She also said it showed they did not trust their tracing systems
‘But I think it’s a bit rich for NSW to start blaming Queensland and Victoria and whichever other state and territory she wants to blame.
‘This has happened in NSW. It has happened in the Northern Beaches.’
She said while ‘we wish them all the very best’, she did not want Queensland’s ‘lifestyle comprised at this point in time.’
Queensland recorded one new case of covid-19 on Wednesday, a returned traveller from Canada in hotel quarantine.
The Sunshine state has now gone 99 days without any community transmission of covid-19.
There were 13,000 tests in Queensland in the past 24 hours.
TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS FOR NSW RESIDENTS
- Western Australia – All NSW residents are banned from entering WA from 12am on Sunday, December 20. Anyone who enters the state from this date will be ‘sent back’, according to Premier Mark McGowan.
- Victoria – Everyone from NSW must apply for a permit to enter. Northern Beaches residents are banned and Greater Sydney residents are encouraged to get a test on arrival.
- Northern Territory – Anyone who enters NT from Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Illawarra and and the Central Coast, will need to undergo 14 days of supervised quarantine.
- South Australia – People who have been in the Northern Beaches are banned. People who have been to Greater Sydney, including the Central Coast and Woolongong must isolate for two weeks.
- Queensland – Queensland will shut its borders to Greater Sydney residents from 1am on Monday. Locals returning to the Sunshine State will be allowed to enter until 1am on Tuesday but must isolate at home. A hard border for all NSW will be brought back in on Monday night.
- ACT – People from the Northern Beaches ‘should not travel’ to the ACT
- Tasmania – Northern Beaches residents banned. All people from Greater Sydney must also quarantine upon entry.
NSW recorded just eight new local cases of covid-19, taking the Avalon cluster which emerged seven days ago to 97.
Almost 42,000 tests were carried out in NSW in the 24 hours to 8pm.
Ms Berejiklian on Wednesday relaxed lockdown restrictions to allow home visits for three days on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
There will also be a small easing of restrictions for other Greater Sydney residents who will be allowed 10 adults plus children under 12 to visit their homes on those three days, before the 10-person visitor cap once again includes children from 27 December.
Gatherings of up to 100 are still allowed outside in a public place such as at a beach or a park, except in the Northern Beaches where they are banned.
A long line of traffic waiting to pass through the Queensland border checkpoint from NSW (pictured) on Tuesday
The Northern Beaches is being split into two sections at the Narrabeen Bridge, with those in the northern section where the cluster is centred suffering harsher Christmas restrictions than those in the south.
They are not allowed to leave or welcome people from outside the area but will be allowed five visitors to their homes on 24, 25 and 26 December before lockdown rules banning home visits resume.
Those south of the Narrabeen Bridge cannot leave the Northern Beaches but can welcome 10 visitors into their homes on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, including people from anywhere in NSW.
The government will decide on Boxing Day if residents south of the Narrabeen Bridge will go back into lockdown on 27 December.
What are Queensland’s border rules?
The Queensland border is closed to any non-resident who has been in a Covid-19 hotspot in the last 14 days or since the hotspot was declared (whichever is shorter).
Currently 35 New South Wales LGAs comprising greater Sydney are hotspots.
Anyone travelling to Queensland who has been in NSW at any time since 1am Friday 11 December must complete a Queensland Border Declaration Pass before they enter Queensland.
Queensland residents entering on Monday will be allowed to enter by road and complete quarantine at home.
After 1am AEST on Tuesday 22 December, Queensland residents who have been in Greater Sydney on or since 11 December will have to enter Queensland by air and will be directed to quarantine in government arranged accommodation.
Source: Queensland government