Queensland has today announced a range of measures to help manage the risk of COVID-19 spread in the state.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said Queensland was acting cautiously as COVID-19 outbreaks spread across the country and incursions into Queensland may be difficult to avoid.
- Declaration of all of New South Wales as a hotspot from 1am July 23. A border zone will be put into place, however residents living in the nominated border zone will be able to come into Queensland for a limited range of reasons, including health care, work, education, essential shopping and if they provide care to vulnerable people.
- Queenslanders will be able to travel into the NSW border zone for similar reasons, but not further than the border zone.
- If a person has been in other areas of NSW outside of the border zone, they won’t be able to enter Queensland for 14 days since they were in those areas.
- Mask wearing will be extended in the 11 SEQ LGAs for an additional week, until 6am Friday July 30.
- Stadiums across the state with a capacity of 20,000 spectators or more will be required to reduce capacity to 75 per cent. Spectators will now be required to wear masks while seated unless consuming food or drink.
- Density restrictions in South East Queensland will be eased to match current levels in the regions. This means increased numbers of people allowed at weddings, funerals and indoor events.
NSW will remain a declared hotspot for four weeks, with a possible earlier review pending the outcome of their current outbreak.
“Across the country we are seeing how much of a risk COVID-19 remains, especially the Delta variant,” Dr Young said.
“The current outbreak in NSW is particularly concerning.
“I know it has been challenging but we need to remain vigilant until a much larger proportion of the community is vaccinated.”
Dr Young said the NSW hotspot declaration was being put in place for a range of reasons including increasing numbers of infectious cases south of the border, instances of COVID-19 in sewage detected in an expanding number of LGAs, and increased exposure sites, including in the state’s north.
Anyone who has been in any part of NSW after 1am Friday will not be allowed to enter Queensland unless they are a returning Queensland resident or a border zone resident, except for a limited range of people who can enter for an essential purpose.
Anyone who is allowed to enter Queensland (except border zone residents) will be required to go into 14 days mandatory hotel quarantine in Brisbane or Cairns, unless granted an exemption.
“We understand these border restrictions are disruptive, but the health and safety of Queenslanders is a priority – spread of the Delta outbreak from New South Wales into Queensland would be far more disruptive,” Dr Young said.
Dr Young said a border zone would be reinstated to ensure those who regularly work or access services in Queensland can continue to do so.
“The border zone will commence again, with residents of border zone communities able to cross the border into Queensland,” Dr Young said.
“Border zone residents already need a Queensland Entry Pass to enter the state and will need to complete a new one every 14 days, unless they have travelled outside the border zone, where they will need to reapply.
“Any border zone residents who travel outside of the border zone into other parts of New South Wales will not be able to enter Queensland for 14 days from their date of travel.”
Dr Young said ACT would not be declared a hotspot at this time.
“Given the ACT hasn’t recorded a locally acquired case in more than a year and has no active cases, we have chosen not to declare ACT a hotspot at this time,” Dr Young said.
“But of course, we are monitoring the situation closely given its proximity to NSW, and if we do see the risk or cases spread into the ACT, we won’t hesitate to declare it a hotspot.”
Dr Young said changed restrictions inside Queensland were about getting the balance right.
“I believe we can standardise density restrictions across the state and reduce the tight measures we’ve had in place in South East Queensland for the last three weeks,” Dr Young said.
“But I am asking people in South East Queensland to continue wearing masks for another seven days, just as an added precaution while the current outbreaks in Queensland are fully brought under control.
“We have also changed our stance in terms of how we manage risk at large outdoor venues.
“From tomorrow, stadiums that can seat more than 20,000 will be restricted to 75 per cent capacity.
“For at least the next month, spectators will be required to wear masks when entering and exiting the stadium, when moving around, and when seated. They can remove their mask whilst seated if consuming food or drink.
“While we have not seen transmission at an outdoor sporting event in Queensland, Delta has clearly rewritten the rules in other states and we want to be on the offensive, not the defensive.”
Dr Young again urged anyone with any COVID-19 symptoms to get tested and remain isolated until they received a negative result.
You can find a list of testing clinics at www.qld.gov.au/covid19testing
Everyone should also check the Queensland Health website daily for updated exposure sites.
There are exposure sites in QLD, NSW, VIC and SA – it’s vital anyone in Queensland continues to check the exposure venues list at www.health.qld.gov.au/tracing and follows the health advice.
Dr Young said it was critical that everyone who is not yet vaccinated and is 60 years of age or over makes an appointment with their GP to be vaccinated as soon as possible.
“If you have had one dose of either Pfizer or Astra Zeneca vaccine, please get the second dose when it is due,” Dr Young said.
“For people under age 60, please continually review our website for when vaccine is available for your age group.”