Thursday, June 20, 2024

Queensland calls on PM to “massively reduce” overseas arrivals

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has called on the Prime Minister to “massively reduce” the number of overseas arrivals into the state, as she announced a three-day lockdown across 11 local government areas (LGAs) in South East Queensland in addition to the Townsville LGA, including Magnetic Island and Palm Island from 6pm tonight.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the lockdown was necessary to tackle emerging COVID-19 community transmission in Queensland.

“With the new Delta strain now in the Queensland community, we can’t afford to take any chances,” the Premier said.

“This highly infectious strain means that a three-day lockdown in South East Queensland, Townsville and Palm Island is our only choice.

“I’m asking all Queenslanders and all visitors to these affected areas to abide by the lockdown – this is absolutely vital to keep us all safe.

“We’ve shown that we can do this before, and we can do it again.

“Community spread is being seen across Australia, with returning residents and visitors bringing the Delta strain to our shores.

“I’m calling on the Federal Government to immediately massively reduce overseas arrivals into Australia until a large proportion of the Australian public is vaccinated.”

A resident gets a COVID-19 test at a drive-through clinic in Brisbane today.

During the lockdown period, you can only leave your residence, which includes temporary accommodation such as a holiday rental, for limited permitted purposes such as:

  • obtaining essentials such as groceries or medications
  • exercise in your local area
  • work or study if you can’t do either from home, and childcare, and
  • health care, including vaccination, or to provide help, care or support to vulnerable people.

The affected LGAs are: 

  • Brisbane City Council 
  • Logan City Council 
  • Moreton Bay Regional Council 
  • Ipswich City Council
  • Redland City Council
  • Sunshine Coast Regional Council
  • Gold Coast City Council
  • Noosa Shire Council
  • Somerset Regional Council
  • Lockyer Valley Regional Council
  • Scenic Rim Regional Council
  • Townsville City Council, including Magnetic Island, and
  • Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council

Health Minister, Yvette D’Ath said the three-day lockdown would be reviewed on Friday and allow Queensland Health to carry out vital contact tracing.

“This Delta strain is highly infectious and we’re going hard and going early to avoid a longer lockdown,” she said.

“Our contact tracers are amongst the best in the world and they’re working around the clock to keep us all safe.

“We need all people in the affected areas to stay home unless it’s absolutely essential to leave home for one of the permitted reasons.

“Above all, keep wearing your mask and if you have any symptoms, get tested and self-isolate until you get your result.

“Remember  to keep up the social distancing and practice good hand hygiene.

“Getting vaccinated is also crucial, so if you have an appointment make sure you keep that appointment.

“Queensland Health currently has 66 vaccination sites operating and we’re encouraging those eligible to go online and book their vaccination.”

Queensland Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young said the three-day lockdown would limit community spread of COVID-19.

“With community transmission and many venues of concern throughout South East Queensland, and an emerging risk in Townsville this lockdown is essential to protect the community,” Dr Young said.

“We need this time to allow our contact tracers to get in touch with close contacts, identify any at risk locations and alert the community.

“It’s really important people follow the restrictions. I know it’s difficult, but we don’t implement these measures lightly – we want to keep Queenslanders safe.”

Also from 1am Wednesday, 30 June, Perth and the Peel LGAs in Western Australia, and Darwin, Palmerston, Litchfield LGAs and Wagait and Belyuen Shires in the Northern Territory will be declared hotspots.

Visitors from these areas will require an exemption to enter Queensland and returning residents will have to do 14 days hotel quarantine at their own expense.

To find your nearest testing clinic, visit  https://www.qld.gov.au/covid19testing

Lockdown rules for South East Queensland, Townsville and Palm Island:

From 6pm, Tuesday 29 June 2021 to 6pm, Friday 2 July 2021, people in South East Queensland, Townsville (including Magnetic Island) and Palm Island will be required to stay at home except for essential reasons.

You can only leave your residence (which includes temporary accommodation such as a holiday rental) for limited permitted purposes such as:

  • obtaining essential goods or services, including healthcare (including vaccinations)
  • exercise 
  • attending essential work or childcare, and
  • assisting vulnerable persons

You should stay in your local area wherever possible. You can only have two visitors to your residence (excluding volunteers and workers).

You can exercise away from your home with your household group and/or one other person not from your household.

You must wear a face mask at all times when you leave home, including outdoors, unless you have a lawful reason not to. You must wear a mask in indoor spaces, such as: 

  • shopping centres and supermarkets
  • hospitals and aged care facilities, if permitted to visit
  • indoor workplaces (where safe to wear a mask and you can’t physically distance) 
  • public transport, taxis and rideshare, and waiting places or queues for this transport, and
  • airports and travelling on planes.

Masks do not need to be worn in some circumstances, including children under 12 years, where people have certain medical conditions, and in workplaces where it is not safe to do so. Masks may be removed when sitting down to eat and drink, undertaking strenuous exercise and for employment purposes. 

Non-essential businesses are not allowed to operate. Cinemas, entertainment and recreation venues, hairdressers, beauty and personal care services, gyms and places of worship will all close. Childcare centres will remain open. 

Restaurants and cafes can provide take away or home delivery services only. 

Funerals will be limited to 20 people, and weddings will be limited to 10 people, including the celebrant and the couple.

Restrictions on aged care, hospitals, disability care and correctional facilities apply with no personal visitors allowed. Anyone attending these facilities in South East Queensland, Townsville or Palm Island, including staff, must wear a mask. People will still be able to visit their loved ones who are at end of life.

Anyone who was in South East Queensland, Townsville or Palm Island from 6pm, Tuesday 29 June 2021 is required to follow the same lockdown rules even if they are no longer in those areas.

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