Viral News

Border response: States to slam borders shut to Victorians

State leaders have revealed they are hardening border measures to prevent Victoria’s outbreak from spreading interstate.

From 6pm Friday, Western Australia will introduce a hard border with Victoria for 72 hours meaning no one can enter the state.

Queensland will also close its border to Melbourne from 1am Saturday.

Melbourne will be declared a hotspot for 14 days and anyone from 36 local government areas around the city will not be allowed to enter the Sunshine State.

Queensland’s Acting Health Minister Steven Miles made the announcement on Friday, saying it would allow government to “protect Queenslanders”.

RELATED: Holiday Inn COVID-19 cluster grows

The call came moments after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced a snap five-day lockdown following an emergency meeting with his cabinet as the Holiday Inn cluster continues to spread.

Victoria will return to stage four restrictions until Wednesday.

Individuals who have been to areas of concern in Victoria and are already in Queensland are being contacted by health authorities amid concerns about the pace and spread of the virus in Melbourne.

“They (Victorian health officials) notified us of additional locations where they are concerned people were infectious while in the community and that has led to a very large number of contacts needing to be traced in Queensland,” Mr Miles said.

“Terminal four of the airport, in particular, has led to more than 1500 who are now in Queensland who need to be contact traced.”

In response to Victoria’s outbreak, officials in the Northern Territory have also declared Melbourne, and Tullamarine Airport, a COVID hotspot.

This means anyone arriving in the Top End, effective immediately, must isolate at the Howard Spring quarantine facility or take the first return flight home.

Anyone who is already in the Northern Territory and has been in Melbourne, including the airport, since February 7 must self isolate until they receive a negative result.

From midnight Friday Tasmania will shut its border to Victorians.

Premier Peter Gutwein said the entire state of Victoria will be classified as a high-risk location.

Tasmanian residents will be allowed to return home but must self-quarantine for 14 days.

The border updates come as the Melbourne cluster linked to the Holiday Inn grew by two on Friday, taking the outbreak to 13 cases, with six of the cases already confirmed by genomic sequencing as having the UK’s highly contagious B117 strain.

Victorian health authorities also added Brunetti at Melbourne Airport’s Terminal 4 to the list of Tier 1 exposure sites overnight. Anyone who visited the cafe between 4.45am and 1.15pm on Tuesday, February 9, must get tested and remain isolated for 14 days.

A staff member at the Holiday Inn in Tullamarine became the latest infection linked to the cluster.

Victoria’s deputy secretary of community engagement and testing Jeroen Weimar said it was a “working assumption” that all cases associated with the hotel cluster were of the UK variant.

“Clearly it is a very live outbreak,” he said. “We are at this stage reassured by the fact that all of these positives emerged from a primary contact field, that is important to us.

“And although we are now seeing two cases of household transmission, again it’s in the household, that gives us some confidence, but that is early days.”

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