Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has threatened to tighten Queensland’s already hard border with New South Wales if the state’s outbreak continues to spread further north.
That has raised fears the current border zone, which allows travel for essential reasons as far south as the Clarence Valley, could be scrapped.
It comes after a positive case was confirmed in Byron Bay with that region now on alert.
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The man in his 50s had travelled there from Sydney late last month.
He is now being treated in Lismore Base Hospital while urgent testing of his household contacts is now underway.
Officials have not yet been able to confirm reports the man had also been on the Gold Coast before travelling to Byron.
The New South Wales government has also ordered Tamworth and Armidale into lockdown after confirmed cases in those cities.
Ms Palaszczuk warned that current border measures may have to be strengthened if cases continue to creep closer to Queensland.
“The further north the virus travels is alarming for us so we’ll be watching that incredibly carefully,” the Premier said.
“So we’ve already had those border patrols and border controls in place but if we have to go harder we will.”
The Premier has not ruled out scrapping the border zone, essentially blocking everyone from New South Wales.
“We can go harder by, you know, we’ll have to be stopping everybody. So we are very concerned at the moment.
“We’re not at that stage but if we have to go harder we will.”
Tweed Shire Councillor James Owen is calling on the New South Wales government to establish a ‘ring of steel’ around Greater Sydney to prevent any further spread in regional areas.
“I am worried that it is only a matter of time before an outbreak occurs here in the Tweed Shire, unless decisive action is taken to stop the spread,” Councillor Owen said.
“We do not want people from Greater Sydney travelling to rural and regional NSW. Nothing would be more devastating, and catastrophic, to our personal lives, our local businesses, our local economy, and our local health system, than a COVID outbreak and subsequent lockdown.
“A ‘ring of steel’ will also assist to preserve our current ‘border bubble’ with QLD, and maintain our important interconnectedness with the Gold Coast and SE QLD.”