Australia

Queensland on alert after visit from NSW truck driver who tested positive for COVID-19

Queensland has issued a public health alert after a NSW truck driver tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting the state.

Queensland Health says the driver tested positive after entering the state last Wednesday and leaving on Thursday.

Exposure sites include a BP Service Station at Archerfield between 8.50am and 11.10am and the Goondiwindi BP Truckstop between 5.30pm and 6.30pm on Thursday, 26 August.

“We are asking all Queenslanders to regularly monitor the list of exposure venues on the Queensland Health website and follow the public health advice, as more locations may appear throughout the day,” the department said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Queensland will restart hotel quarantine for residents stranded interstate from Saturday, but the program remains closed to residents of NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been under fire for her snap decision last Wednesday to pause the domestic hotel quarantine program for two weeks.

A number of Queenslanders were caught out by the move, which the government said would reduce pressure on the system, and were unable to get home from states with COVID-19 outbreaks.

Ms Palaszczuk says enough people have completed hotel quarantine and vacated rooms to allow the program to restart.

“As of Saturday, Queensland residents can begin returning from interstate hotspots into hotel quarantine in Queensland,” she told parliament on Wednesday.

“The pause on intake has only just begun.

“Numbers in our quarantine hotels have only slightly eased so we can offer places to 50 as a start, but we will add more places as rooms become available.”

The decision was welcomed by federal Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews who said Queenslanders were “outraged” when NRL players and their partners were allowed into the state while residents were locked out.

“It is really time that the Queensland premier starts to focus on how she is going to reopen Queensland and not take every available opportunity to shut Queensland down,” she said on Wednesday.

Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews

AAP

The state’s ban on arrivals from NSW, Victoria and the ACT will continue until at least 8 September.

Road borders with NSW are also closed to all but essential workers who have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The premier has also indicated Queensland may not start easing restrictions once vaccination coverage hits 80 per cent.

Ms Palaszczuk says she wants to see more Doherty Institute modelling on immunising people under the age to 12 before committing to any reopening plan.

“Unless there is an answer on how these young people are going to be vaccinated, you are putting this most vulnerable population at risk,” she told parliament.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Doherty Institute modelling indicated more children would get COVID-19, but he said the federal government would follow scientific advice and reopening “remains the plan”.

“As a father, I am like you, I care about the health of my children, and that is why we should continue to take the medical advice,” Mr Frydenberg told reporters.

“But if you look around the rest of the world … countries have opened up safely with COVID and kids have got back to school.”

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