Queensland has strengthened its border restrictions for Victorians as an outbreak ravages Melbourne.
Previously Victorians could enter the Sunshine State if they spent two weeks in quarantine – but now they have been totally banned and will be turned around.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said too many Victorians were paying $2,800 for their own quarantine just to get out of Melbourne.
Lines of healthcare professionals are seen entering the North Melbourne Public Housing tower complex
Local cases of community transmission have soared in the within Melbourne
He said the government wants to preserve quarantine places for Queenslanders.
From midday on Friday Queenslanders will have to pay for their own quarantine if they are returning from Victoria.
‘Please get home now. Please get home as quickly as you can,’ Mr Miles said on Thursday.
‘They (Victoria) now have more than twice the number of cases that Queensland had in total (and) they now have more locally acquired cases than Queensland had overseas acquired cases.’
A long wait: Australians braved 40-minute traffic queues to get to work this morning on the first day the New South Wales-Victoria border closed due to a huge coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne
A Service NSW spokesperson said the permit application system had experienced high levels of demand, causing it to crash this morning. Pictured: Queues to get in to Albury
All other Australians will be allowed to enter Queensland from midday on Friday.
Mr Miles announced that anyone entering the state will be required to sign a border declaration form in which they promise to get tested if they develop symptoms.
Anyone who develops symptoms but does not immediately get tested will be fined $4,000, he said.
Border passes for freight drivers will need to be renewed every week.
Next week 238,000 people will be entering the state, police said.
The relaxation of the border restrictions comes as the premier says many of the restrictions that have shaped the lives of Queenslanders for months are here to stay.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Wednesday that unless there was a COVID-19 vaccine, the risk would remain high.
‘Until there is a vaccine, we have to keep up with the social distancing, we never know when there could be a new case,’ she said.
New lockdown: Victoria on Tuesday 191 new cases of coronavirus – its worst figure yet. Pictured: Police and nurses wearing protective equipment outside tower blocks in north Melbourne
Melbourne was gripped by panic buying on Wednesday as residents prepare for six weeks of lock down from midnight
‘We have contact tracing in place ready to go and as we’ve seen, it can emerge very quickly, like it has in Victoria.’
The state government will continue to review restrictions and potentially ease them further if they deem it safe to do so.
Melburnians are back in stay-at-home lockdown for six weeks in a bid to contain a second wave of coronavirus cases in the state.
Residents in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, north of the city, can only leave their homes to get food and supplies, receive or provide care, exercise, and study or work.
Premier Daniel Andrews says it’s crucial Melburnians don’t breach the rules and head into regional Victoria, which is largely coronavirus free.
“We are doing the hard work to look at options to accelerate opening up in regional Victoria, that comes with significant economic benefit, for them and therefore the whole state,” he said on Wednesday.
“That is only possible if we continue to safeguard the very low COVID or COVID-free status of large parts of regional and country Victoria.”
The whole of Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire north of the city will be placed back into lock down for six weeks from 11.59pm on Wednesday after Victoria recorded 191 new cases of coronavirus – its worst figure yet. Pictured: A map showing the suburbs in lockdown