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Border declarations reimposed for travel from Victoria to Queensland

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Border controls between Queensland and Victoria have returned, with people wanting to travel here from the southern state required to fill out a border declaration pass as authorities respond to a coronavirus outbreak at Melbourne Airport’s Holiday Inn.

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However, but Acting Health Minister Steven Miles stopped short of declaring Melbourne a hotspot following the outbreak. By contrast, South Australia has quickly closed its border with greater Melbourne.

Miles said the border pass system would come into affect from 1:00am Saturday.

So far, 10 people have been linked to the Holiday Inn cluster.

“It is too early from our perspective to declare a hotspot in Melbourne because all of those cases at this stage were contracted within the hotel quarantine on level three,” Miles said.

“So, there’s no cases of community transmission outside of that location.”

Miles said the declarations would allow authorities to check if visitors had been to any of the exposure sites in Melbourne and would help down the track, if Queensland shuts its border.

The fine for making a false declaration is more than $4,000.

Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Sonya Bennett said of the 10 cases linked to the Holiday Inn, a number had been infectious in the community, sparking health alerts for two dozen exposure sites in Melbourne.

“That’s now the period we will be watching now, to see if there’s any transmission in community,” she said.

“Anyone who’s been in those locations is what we consider a close contact.

“So technically they should be in quarantine in Victoria, but we’ll be asking them to declare that they haven’t been in any of those zones.”

Queensland health authorities earlier this month asked anyone in the state who had visited Greater Melbourne since January 29 to get tested and isolate until they received a negative result.

“That will remain,” Bennett said.

“That will be part of the declaration.

“The other part of the declaration is, that people declare that they haven’t been in any of the zones of risk that Melbourne has declared as well.

“There’s a growing list of those.”

While Queensland is keeping its borders open for now, South Australia yesterday imposed restrictions for people who have been to Melbourne.

Queensland’s latest cases

One new case of coronavirus was recorded in Queensland overnight, a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.

There was one person in quarantine at Melbourne’s Holiday Inn who has since returned to Queensland but they have tested negative to COVID-19.

There are six active cases in the Queensland, with 7,762 tests conducted in the past 24 hours.

Bennett said fragments of COVID-19 was detected in Thorneside wastewater treatment plant in Brisbane’s south.

“Wastewater detections could very well mean there is a case in the community we are unaware of, which is why it’s vital to continue urging anyone with symptoms to come forward for testing.”

– ABC / Jessica van Vonderen

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