Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: Queensland, Australia, to ease border controls for Australian Capital Territory Sept. 25, northern NSW Oct. 1. Other restrictions ongoing.

Alert Begins 22 Sep 2020 09:05 AM UTC
Alert Expires 15 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Queensland 
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, gathering limits, increased security

Queensland authorities continue to implement gathering and business restrictions due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. As of Sept. 22, the government is designating Brisbane, Ipswitch, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Moreton Bay, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset, and South Burnett as restricted areas. Officials are limiting social gatherings to 10 people and restricting visitation at hospitals to parents or guardians, caregivers, children, or a partner of a patient in these local government areas. Social gatherings up to 30 people can take place in all other areas of the state.

The government is allowing most businesses to operate with a COVID Safe plan. Companies must follow the so-called four-square-meter rule limiting capacity to one person per four square meters (43 square feet). A two square meter rule is in place for smaller venues; officials will allow one person per two square meters (21.5 square feet) in such establishments, up to a maximum of 50 people. Nonessential businesses, entertainment and cultural venues, food courts, and nightclubs can operate, provided they follow federal government capacity guidelines. Officials require a COVID Safe Event Plan for all events above 500 people. Concert venues and theaters can pursue either a 50 percent capacity or the four-square-meter rule - whichever allows greater numbers - to comply with gathering limits. Sports stadiums remain limited to 50 percent capacity with a maximum seating of 25,000 people.

Domestic Border Controls
Queensland will lift border restrictions on the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) from 0100 Sept. 25, provided there are no reported new COVID-19 cases. However, ACT residents cannot travel to Victoria or New South Wales (NSW) in the 14 days before traveling to Queensland and must arrive by air. Authorities also plan to lift quarantine requirements on visitors from the Byron Shire, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley, and Glen Innes local government areas in NSW from 0100 Oct. 1. Residents from these locations will be allowed to travel throughout Queensland without quarantine.

The government will continue to ban all residents of Victoria and other areas of New South Wales from entering the state. Returning Queensland residents, people moving permanently to the state, or those traveling for essential reasons - such as state or national security personnel, skilled labor in demand, and transport workers - are still allowed to enter from hotspot areas. Travelers from hotspots are also banned from crossing the border using road transport, though exceptions are in place for cargo and logistics workers, truck drivers, essential functions, and border zone residents. Travelers from hotspots must complete a Queensland Health Declaration Pass before entering the state and agree to receive COVID-19 testing if symptoms develop. Officials have ended in-state quarantine for travelers from hotspots and will turn away travelers without entry permission from affected areas.

Authorities allow people residing in New South Wales to enter Queensland for medical appointments if they present a Queensland Border Declaration Pass (General), which is available online. Travelers must also obtain a written document from the hospital or service confirming the appointment. Officials require outpatients to quarantine at a facility at their own expense if the treatment is for more than one day, while people who receive treatment for a day must leave Queensland immediately after the treatment.

International Quarantine Requirements
All travelers entering Australia must quarantine in government-designated facilities for 14 days in the city of arrival. Queensland charges all arriving travelers for quarantine, including Australian citizens and permanent residents, payable at the end of the quarantine period. Quarantine fees are AUD 2,800 (USD 2,005) for the first adult, AUD 3,710 (USD 2,658) for two adults, and AUD 4,620 (USD 3,310) for two adults and two children. Authorities require quarantined travelers to take a COVID-19 test before release. Refusal to take tests will result in an additional 10 days in quarantine.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by government health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Plan for transport disruptions and delivery delays in designated hotspot areas. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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