Queensland has shut its border to almost everyone on the eastern seaboard under drastic new rules enforced from today. Here's what's changed.
The Queensland border has been shut to all residents of NSW and the ACT under strict new rules to limit the spread of coronavirus in the Sunshine State.
As of 1am today, NSW and ACT are considered virus hot spots, joining a blacklist that already includes Victoria and the Greater Sydney region.
The border change means travellers from hotspot areas can no longer enter Queensland, except with rare exemptions, and Queenslanders returning from those areas have to hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.
In the past few days there has been a rush of Queensland residents trying to make it back across the border before this morning's deadline to avoid mandatory quarantine.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the hard border was necessary because of the ongoing outbreak in Victoria, Sydney and new cases in other parts of NSW.
"In New South Wales, we are continuing to see cases each day, and this is of great concern to Queensland," the premier said on Wednesday.
"This is the right thing to do. I know it's going to be tough on Queenslanders. But your health comes first."
Queensland had already imposed a hard border on Victoria and the Greater Sydney region, although travellers from other parts of NSW had been allowed into the state until today.
WHO IS BANNED FROM QUEENSLAND?
People who have been anywhere in NSW and the ACT will be unable to enter Queensland as the regions have been declared a virus hot spot. Visitors from Victoria and Greater Sydney are already restricted from the state.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES?
Those who breach border rules face fines of $4000 and harsher penalties may apply.
WHO CAN STILL VISIT?
Provided they haven't been to a virus hotspot in the preceding 14 days, travellers are welcome from Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
All people entering Queensland need to fill out a border declaration pass, including returning Queensland residents.
Residents in border communities such as Coolangatta-Tweed can apply for an X-pass on the Queensland government website if they need to cross the border for essential work.
an F-pass will be issued to freight drivers.
WHAT IF I'M A QUEENSLANDER IN NSW OR ACT?
You will be able to return home but will have to go into mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days at your expense.
WHAT IF I HAD A TRIP BOOKED?
If you live in, or have recently visited, a virus hotspot, that Queensland trip can't go ahead. Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia have options for travellers impacted by travel restrictions, and many accommodation providers already have policies in place for changed plans because of the pandemic.
The Queensland Government hasn't set a time frame for the new border rules, and as it's in response to evolving outbreaks, it's impossible to say how long it will last.
ARE THERE ANY EXEMPTIONS?
There are some circumstances that allow a person to enter Queensland even after having been in a hotspot. In most cases they'll still need to quarantine for 14 days.
People who may be eligible for exemptions include those who need to attend a court or tribunal, students, air travellers transiting without leaving the airport, those fulfilling a legal obligation in relation to shared parenting, those fleeing serious injury or the threat of serious harm, and those performing an essential activity.
Essential activities include national defence, state security and police duties, health and emergency services work, transportation of freight and logistics, emergency services special work, and aircrew and maritime duties.