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Queensland on high alert as more potential NSW hotspots emerge

More of NSW is set to be declared off-limits, potentially adding to traffic congestion along the Queensland border on the Gold Coast.

Jul 21, 2020, updated Jul 21, 2020
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young giving one of her regular COVID-19 updates with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. (Photo: ABC)

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young giving one of her regular COVID-19 updates with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. (Photo: ABC)

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today said she had been briefed on the need to consider adding to the list of NSW hotspots requiring travel bans, separate to ban covering the entire state of Victoria.

Her comments came ahead of NSW reporting 13 new cases of COVID-19 overnight, as Queensland’s diagnosis data remained unchanged. Victoria, in the grip of an unfolding crisis, which has already seen the virus spread to NSW, reported another 374 cases.

Palaszczuk said Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles and Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young were monitoring developments in NSW closely, especially for signs of community transmission.

“There is a possibility that more hotspots in New South Wales could be declared by Queensland,” Palaszczuk told reporters.

The Campbelltown and Liverpool areas of Sydney are already declared hotspots, but several other areas are cause for concern, including Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast, where there has been an outbreak in recent days.

Under Queensland’s border controls, the only travellers who have been in declared hotspots and will be allowed into Queensland are returning residents or people given an exemption, and even then there is a strict 14-day quarantine requirement.

Traffic delays on the Gold Coast have prompted Palaszczuk to seek NSW cooperation to move checkpoints further south, to limit the disruption to local communities.

“This is purely trying to make things reasonable,” Palaszczuk said.

Palaszczuk said she had sent a letter to her NSW counterpart, Gladys Berejiklian, but expressed some pessimism about the chances of an agreement.

Queensland has only two active cases from a tally of 1072 so far this year.

Palaszczuk also confirmed teachers would join police, and possibly health workers, in being given additional leave days during 2020-21 to acknowledge their efforts during the pandemic and partly compensate for the pay freeze.

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