Overwhelmed by new residents relocating from New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland has slammed borders completely shut.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a two-week pause from 25 August on all arrivals from locked down states, NSW, Victoria and the ACT.
“Queensland has been overwhelmed by new arrivals relocating to escape interstate lockdowns, placing huge pressure on our hotel quarantine system,” Ms Palaszczuk wrote in a breaking news announcement.
“No one currently in a declared hotspot will be permitted to enter Queensland’s hotel quarantine for two weeks, except for those with exemptions such as compassionate reasons.
“This is about keeping Queenslanders safe from the Delta variant.”
She went on to explain while the Queensland Government had allowed genuine relocations for work and other purposes, the state’s quarantine hotels were becoming too full.
As of 24 August, 5114 people were in 22 quarantine hotels. This included 3257 people who came from interstate and 1857 people from overseas.
Between 9 and 20 August, 2750 people were granted border passes to relocate to Queensland – that includes 1993 in a single week.
The Queensland Government website further noted the “numbers can no longer be managed in hotel quarantine at the current rate.”
“While we’ve been able to find short-term solutions recently, we now need to put in place a stronger measure.
“We know this is going to be tough, but it is necessary in ensuring we can continue to protect Queenslanders by freeing up hotel quarantine capacity for those who need it most.”
The website also stated setting up a hotel for quarantine purposes is no small feat and takes time, adding the Government “have exhausted the hotel options available”.
The new restrictions mean both new arrivals and Queensland residents will have to reapply for border passes.
It does not apply to cohorts with existing arrangements such as travelling to Queensland for essential health care, court orders, child custody arrangements and specialist workers.
The restrictions will continue until midday on 8 September.