How Brisbane's lockdown will affect long weekend travel
It was supposed to be the first public holiday in Australia without border restrictions since the start of the pandemic.
But a sudden lockdown in Brisbane, only a few short days before Easter long weekend, has left Australians uncertain about their Easter travel plans will be affected.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a three-day lockdown on Monday for Greater Brisbane as the state recorded 10 new cases of COVID-19, including four locally acquired infections.
The lockdown applies to Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Redlands and started at 5pm, Brisbane time, on March 29.
It is expected to end on Thursday, just before the Good Friday public holiday.
Some states have already shut borders to parts of Queensland in response to the announcement.
Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown was tough but necessary as the new cases were the highly infectious UK strain.
“We‘ve seen what’s happened in other countries. I don’t want to see that happen to Queensland. I don’t want to see that happen to Australia. I know in is a really big call. I know it is really tough,” she said.
“We have Easter coming up, we have school holidays coming up, but let’s do it now and let’s do it right and let’s see if we can come through it at the other end.”
Those travelling from interstate and within Queensland to Greater Brisbane during the lockdown period will be required to follow lockdown rules, which means people cannot leave their house except for food, exercise, essential work and medical reasons.
But there is less certainty around travellers who were expecting to visit the city from Friday onwards, as well as people from Brisbane travelling to other states.
Who has shut its border to Queensland?
In light of the Brisbane lockdown, states and territories have changed border conditions and issued travel advice.
It is not clear at this stage how long the border restrictions will last, and whether they will extend beyond Brisbane's three-day lockdown period and into the Easter weekend.
Victoria has shut the border to Greater Brisbane, with the council areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan City, Moreton Bay Region and Redlands City designated as a "red zone" under the state's travel permit system.
This means non-Victorian residents from Brisbane cannot enter the state without an exemption.
Western Australia has reclassified Queensland as a “medium risk” state and from today, will reintroduce a hard border closure with Queensland. This means only travellers with exemptions can enter WA from Queensland.
Those arriving in WA from Queensland since March 27 have to self-quarantine for 14 days and be tested for COVID-19.
Tasmania has shut its border with Greater Brisbane. Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said on Monday anyone travelling to the state from Brisbane, Logan, Moreton Bay, Ipswich or the Redlands will not be able to enter without quarantining for up to two weeks.
South Australia closed its border to Greater Brisbane at 4 pm on Monday, including Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Redlands and Logan.
From that time, only South Australian residents, essential workers or people relocating will be able to enter SA from Queensland, and they will have to self-isolate for 14 days. They’ll also have to be tested on days one, five and 13.
Anyone who has arrived from that Greater Brisbane hotspot area since March 20 must get tested immediately and self-isolate until they get a negative result.
“We are not happy to do this, in fact, we know that this is going to be a huge inconvenience to people, especially in the lead-up to this Easter period,” South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said.
“We know there is a flight which is due into South Australia at 4.45 pm and that is why we have pulled this press conference together as quickly as possible to give that advance notice to people who might be on that flight coming into South Australia.”
The Australian Capital Territory now considers Greater Brisbane a hot spot area and is urging people against travelling there at this time.
Mandatory quarantine applies to all people entering Canberra since March 15.
The Northern Territory’s chief health officer said on Monday travellers from the Queensland council areas of Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Ipswitch, Logan, Redlands and Gladstone since March 25, or from Byron Shire Council in NSW since March 27, must self-quarantine and get a COVID-19 test in the next 72 hours. They must remain in self-quarantine until a negative test is returned.
NSW has said it will not close its border with Queensland despite the three-day lockdown.
However, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said people should reconsider their Easter travel plans.
“New South Wales is in a cautious position, we are not shutting down our border,” Ms Berejiklian said on Monday.
“In relation to Easter, we recommend people who are considering going to Greater Brisbane, change your plans, and consider changing your plans if you’re going anywhere in Queensland.”
NSW says those arriving in the state from the Brisbane City and Moreton Bay council areas on or after March 27 must complete a self-declaration form.
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