Queensland declares NSW towns of Campbelltown and Liverpool coronavirus hotspots

| 14.07,20. 10:17 PM |

Queensland declares NSW towns of Campbelltown and Liverpool coronavirus hotspots


Queensland Health has declared coronavirus hotspots in several areas of New South Wales after a cluster of cases in Sydney.

Any non-Queensland residents who have visited, or visit, the Campbelltown and Liverpool city areas will not be allowed entry into Queensland from midday today.

It follows a cluster of 28 cases connected to the Crossroads Hotel on the Hume Highway in south-west Sydney.

Queenslanders who have been to the hotspots, or travel there in the future, will be forced into hotel quarantine when re-entering the state, at their own cost.

Health Minister Steven Miles said 18 Queenslanders had been tested after visiting the hotel in the last 14 days, but their test results were still unknown.

"This outbreak is incredibly concerning and we are taking it very seriously," Mr Miles said.

"Any Queenslanders who have been to the Crossroads Hotel from July 3 to July 10 inclusive should get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible and then immediately self-isolate."

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the new hotspot declarations added more restrictions to border checkpoints.

"Queensland's border restrictions mean people who have been in a COVID-19 hotspot within the last 14 days will no longer be able to quarantine in Queensland and will be turned away at the border," Dr Young said.

"This applies to everyone who has been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the past 14 days, except people needed in Queensland for essential purposes."

NSW health authorities have been scrambling to contain the coronavirus cluster in south-west Sydney, and are investigating whether a truck driver could be the outbreak's "patient zero".

The Crossroads Hotel is a popular transit stop, especially for truck drivers.

The state of Victoria is also a declared hotspot for Queensland, with anyone who has travelled there also banned from entering.

Truck drivers concerned about hotspot risks
Queensland Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon said he did not believe any of the state's drivers had been to the hotel at the time of the outbreak or had been tested for COVID-19.

"I'm not aware of any of those being truck drivers," he said.

"The Crossroads Hotel is not necessarily a place that truck drivers go to regularly but it certainly is right in the middle of a very truck-busy area."

"We do accept that there is a higher risk of some transfer."

Mr Mahon said drivers were increasingly concerned about travelling through hotspots but they the association was reinforcing safety measures.

"We haven't had any infection breakout in the supply chain so I think that is very able demonstration of how much we understand what we need to do and we are practising it," he said.

"It's pretty clear that we're going to be living with COVID-19 for some time yet and our people well understand they need to keep this vigilance up."

Jail time for travellers caught lying
Meanwhile, the Queensland Government will introduce jail time for people caught lying about their movements while attempting to cross the border.

The maximum penalty is currently $4,003, but Mr Miles said it was not enough of a deterrent to stop people making false declarations.

The Queensland Government will pass new laws to enforce a six-month jail term for the offence of breaching a public health declaration.

"Perhaps people from other states think they might get away without having to pay for it, perhaps people think that $4,000 is worth it to come to Queensland," Mr Miles said.

"I hope [this new penalty] will demonstrate to the public how serious we are in enforcing these measures and just how serious it is that everyone complies with them."

A group of Victorians was fined more than $24,000 after lying on border declaration forms while trying to enter Queensland at the weekend.

More than 850 people have been turned back since border restrictions were eased on Friday.


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