From midday on July 14, Queensland will no longer be admitting anyone who lives in or regularly visits certain areas of New South Wales and Sydney that it has declared are infection hotspots. These include Casula, Liverpool and Campbelltown, which have a combined population of approximately 500,000 people. Any Queenslanders who have been in these areas since the beginning of July will also be required to self-isolate for 14 days once they have returned to Queensland.
The decision was announced by Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this morning, in a move that mirrors the recent actions of the NSW government, which blocked Victorians from hotspot areas of Melbourne entering the state in the days before it completely sealed the border with Victoria on July 7. Queensland had only recently reopened its border with NSW on July 10.
The move to restrict entry for certain NSW residents has been in response to growing concerns about the Crossroads Hotel cluster, which has so far produced 21 confirmed infections in NSW. According to Queensland’s health minister, Steve Miles, 18 Queenslanders have been recently tested after declaring that they had visited the hotel. Their test results are yet to be released.
Stricter border checks will be introduced and anyone attempting to enter Queensland who has been within any of the hotspot areas in NSW within the last 14 days will be turned away. The Crossroads Hotel, which is located on the Hume Highway, is a popular stop for both travellers and those working in the courier and transit industry. This has led contact tracing officers to suggest that the source of the Casula outbreak, or “patient zero” as they are colloquially referred to, could be a truck driver from Victoria, although this individual is yet to be identified.