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Truckies spark border alert as Queensland records six new cases

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Two truck drivers tested positive in NSW, then negative in Queensland, and are now in quarantine with their families while the health department investigates.

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Queensland reported six new cases of COVID-19 today: the two truckies, a returned international traveller in hotel quarantine, and three crew members on a ship.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said NSW relayed the truckies’ positive test results yesterday, but they had not been replicated, which “could mean all sorts of things so we just have to work that through”.

After three removalists helped spread the Sydney outbreak to Melbourne, and beyond, new surveillance systems were introduced for the logistics sector. Young said she was confident the risk posed by the two truckies was “very low”

“They did their routine testing and their extra testing and they maintained social distancing at all times, they stayed home when they weren’t driving their truck,” Young said.

One of the truckies lives on the Sunshine Coast, the other in the Somerset region, and as a precaution, exposure sites will be listed for stops in St George and Balonne on their last journeys. Across the border, the spread of COVID-19 through several western NSW towns remains a concern.

“I thank these two truck drivers and I thank all of the truck drivers who are out there, going around Australia, moving our necessities – food, fuel, goods – through the country and then following very rigid processes,” Young said.

“They are doing it absolutely brilliantly.”

The cases come only days into Queensland’s tighter border arrangements, which require essential workers living in the border zone to have had at least one dose of vaccine to be allow into the state. Any Queensland resident previously given an exemption to travel, but caught out by the vaccination requirement, will only be allowed to fly back home for mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine.

Police intercepted around 5,000 vehicles over the past 24 hours and refused entry to 199, including 17 essential workers who had not been vaccinated.

After protests on the Gold Coast at the weekend, and media reports of people walking across the border, Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll today flagged another crackdown.

Carroll asked local residents to alert police to anyone “hopping across the border” so they could be followed up.

“We will put more police on the border to stop this from happening in the future,” Carroll said, noting that 120 Australian Defence Force personnel would also be assisting.

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