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Queensland shuts out New South Wales but masks to stay

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Queensland is slamming its border shut to all of New South Wales as the southern state continues to grapple with a surge of coronavirus cases.

Despite the hard border closure, Queensland has recorded no new cases of community transmission for the second day in a row.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young says she has been trying to hold off closing the border to New South Wales, only imposing restrictions on Greater Sydney, but the risk is far too great now.

“[They are] seeing more cases in their restricted LGAs but also starting to see cases come out into other areas, such as Coffs Habour and in sewage in Bowral.

“It is really starting to escalate,” Dr Young says.

It means anyone in New South Wales wanting to travel to Queensland from 1am tomorrow, must apply for an exemption or be a returning Queenslander. They will have to go into hotel quarantine.

There will be a border zone in place for people who live and need to travel in those communities around the border.

Masks to stay

However, within Queensland, many restrictions will be lifted but masks will continue to be required for those in the southeast for the next seven days.

Dr Young says people must wear masks at all times other than when in their own home, car or while doing strenuous exercise.

She is also toughen rules for people in stadiums with crowds now required to wear a face covering while seated other than when they are eating and drinking.

“Please wear your masks, I am positive the reason we haven’t had community spread is because people have been genuinely wearing masks.”

From tomorrow, Queenslanders can have 100 people in their home which is up from 30. Up to 200 people can now go to weddings and funerals.

Hospitality businesses will be able to have one person per two square metre instead of four.

Contact tracing efforts

With no new infections in the past 24 hours, Deputy Premier Steven Miles has thanked the efforts of contact tracers involved in the latest cases in Queensland.

About 350 close contacts have been identified as being linked to the Covid-infected Mareeba woman who visited the Sunshine Coast and travelled to home to Cairns after studying in Melbourne.

All are in quarantine.

Miles says the state’s hotel quarantine system is under pressure with 2995 people quarantining.

“We want to be able to tomorrow, ease as many restrictions as possible,” Mr Miles says.

“We really want to be able to ease these restrictions safely, but we can’t ease here without greater assurance from other people travelling from other states.”