Aaron Bunch Journalist with Australian Associated Press | Collection of published work | + 61 484 008 119 | abunch@aap.com.au

Aaron Bunch
Prime Minister slams Qld border rules

Queensland remains firm on border closures as new virus cases emerge in NSW, despite Scott Morrison’s criticism the state is missing out on the tourism trade.

October 15, 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slammed Queensland’s tough COVID-19 border rules, despite the heightened state of alert in New South Wales.

Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles remains concerned about the increasing number of cases being diagnosed in NSW ahead of the potential reopening of the border with that state at the end of the month.

“Their premier indicated they felt they may be on the cusp of another outbreak not unlike the one they saw after the Crossroads Hotel case,” Mr Miles told reporters in Townsville on Thursday.

Mr Morrison said Queensland’s strict border rules are causing the state to miss out on domestic and international tourism trade.

“I know how important the tourism trade is to North Queensland,” he told a Cairns radio station.

“I’d love to see Kiwi holidaymakers coming to Queensland … but they won’t be,” the prime minister said referring to a border bubble agreement allowing New Zealanders to visit NSW, the Northern Territory and ACT from Friday.

“The Queensland government is still insisting on two weeks’ quarantine.”

Mr Morrison said “health borders” should only be implemented for “health reasons and only as long as it is absolutely necessary”.

He also targeted Queensland’s requirement for NSW to record 28-days without community transmission before opening the border.

“You’ve got to have realistic goals,” he said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk hot back saying the state’s strong rules had allowed the state to focus on its economic recovery.

One new case was diagnosed overnight after a man in his 40s who returned from Africa and Papua New Guinea.

The individual had contact with 15 other people and all are in hotel isolation.

There are two active cases in Queensland.

Health officials completed 5280 tests in the 24 hours to Thursday morning.

More than 240 of those were in Townsville, where traces of COVID-19 were detected in sewage on Saturday.

Queensland Health continues to trace people who may have had contact with a Townsville woman before she was diagnosed in Victoria.

The woman in her 30s tested positive after travelling to Cairns, then Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne.

Health officials believe the woman is most likely to have contracted the disease after arriving in Melbourne, however, a number of people in Queensland have been asked to quarantine for 14 days.

“The woman’s treating doctors in Queensland have also taken COVID-19 tests and are isolating until they receive their results,” Dr Young said.

The woman left her home 11 days ago to be with family in Melbourne while receiving medical treatment and tested positive three days after arriving.

A health alert has been issued for people who were in various locations in Townsville and Cairns, including ICON Cancer Care, between September 29 and October 5.

They are advised to get tested if they develop any symptoms, along with people who visited Brisbane’s Georges Paragon Restaurant on October 6

Passengers on Qantas flight QF2302 from Townsville to Cairns on October 3 and Virgin flight VA782 from Cairns to Brisbane on October 6 have also been told to monitor their health.

Samples of the woman’s virus will be compared with those found in the wastewater.

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