Queensland to shut out another 27 NSW suburbs
Queensland has expanded its list of coronavirus hot spots in NSW, with 600,000 people from 104 suburbs now banned from entering the state.
This includes all 27 suburbs within the Fairfield local government area.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced this afternoon that the NSW city had been added to Queensland's list of hot spots following advice from Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young.
The directive will take effect from 1am on Monday, July 27.
Any Queenslanders travelling from Fairfield who had been there in the previous 14 days will be directed to hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Ms Palaszczuk said 46 coronavirus cases had been identified in Fairfield.
"The declaration adds Fairfield to declarations in effect for travellers from Campbelltown, Liverpool and Victoria," she said.
Other people who have visited Fairfield, and are not a resident of Queensland, will be turned around at the border unless they have an exemption.
BREAKING: Queensland borders will close to another New South Wales hotspot. In response to further outbreaks – and on the advice of our Chief Health Officer – the city of Fairfield NSW has been added to Queensland’s list of COVID hotspots. #covid19aus pic.twitter.com/ZAiyUoiIme— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) July 23, 2020
The 27 suburbs affected, which are home to 210,000 people, are Abbotsbury, Bonnyrigg, Bonnyrigg Heights, Bossley Park, Cabramatta, Cabramatta West, Canley Heights, Canley Vale, Carramar, Cecil Park, Edensor Park, Fairfield, Fairfield East, Fairfield Heights, Fairfield West, Greenfield Park, Horsley Park, Lansvale, Mount Pritchard, Old Guildford, Prairiewood, Smithfield, St Johns Park, Villawood, Wakely, Wetherill Park and Yennora.
Meanwhile, another 22 people from southern hot spots were turned away at Gold Coast border checkpoints today, bringing to more than 550 people the number refused entry to Queensland since the border reopened on July 10.
Earlier, police said they were ready to enforce stricter bans if COVID cases continued to surge in the southern states, with the whole of Sydney potentially to be locked out.
Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in NSW since July 1Live Data Source: Health Protection NSW
Police manning border checkpoints are preparing for more COVID-19 hot spots to be declared in NSW, including possibly the whole of Sydney, as early as today.
Sources say the complete closure of the border is also not out of the question if the coronavirus second wave sweeping Victoria and NSW continues to gather momentum.
"There is no way that more hot spots are not going to be declared, and all of Sydney would definitely be a consideration given what's happening down there," a senior police source told The Courier-Mail.
"If the situation continues to deteriorate over the next week, I honestly don't see how we wouldn't look at closing the border entirely."
The revelation came as Victoria had a record spike of 484 COVID-19 cases and NSW reported 16 new cases, prompting Premier Gladys Berejiklian to warn that her state was facing its most critical period since the pandemic lockdown in March.
The western Sydney local government areas of Liverpool and Campbelltown were declared COVID hot spots by the Palaszczuk Government last week, just days after Queensland reopened its border to all states except virus-ravaged Victoria.
The declaration led to lengthy traffic jams at Gold Coast border checkpoints, with delays of up to two hours as police pulled over and checked every NSW-registered vehicle to ensure that travellers were not from hot spots.
Peak hour delays at the checkpoints have been slashed to as low as five minutes after army personnel were brought in at the weekend as reinforcements, but police are bracing for more congestion in the likely event that more hot spots will be declared this week.
It's understood authorities are closely monitoring the situation in Sydney but are likely to declare more local government areas as hot spots before making any decision on greater Sydney.
It comes as MPs face continuing pressure from the electorate on the border issue, with the blow back from voters discussed at last week's caucus.
Police have already had to turn back more than 500 people at the Gold Coast checkpoints alone since the border reopened on July 10, but there are fears some Victorians and people from NSW hot spots may still be sneaking through.
The Courier-Mail revealed yesterday that almost 200 people had entered Queensland and dodged quarantine orders or given fake contact details.
There have also been several close calls, including a van-load of Victorians and a NSW hotspot bus traveller who made two attempts to cross the border last week before being caught by police.
Police also busted a NSW man trying to breach the border in the boot of a car south of Stanthorpe on Tuesday.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant yesterday urged the state's residents to avoid non-essential travel, saying health authorities were trying to 'put up fences' to contain the outbreaks in southwest Sydney.
"That sort of language is normally a precedent to restrictions being tightened," a Queensland police source said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: "I do have concerns when the NSW Premier says they are on a heightened alert. That means I am on a heightened alert."
Meanwhile, Ms Palaszczuk said Ms Berejiklian had knocked back Queensland's request to move the border checkpoints into NSW to ease congestion.
"All I wanted to do was make it easier," she said.
"I've tried and unfortunately she's come back and said no."