Queensland to ease restrictions from Friday as Victoria shuts border to NSW, ACT

Queensland to ease restrictions from Friday as Victoria shuts border to NSW, ACT

It has now been an entire week since Queensland last recorded a locally acquired case of COVID-19, encouraging the state's health authorities to wind back some restrictions on gatherings and hospitality from this Friday.

However, unlike Victoria, Queensland will not be closing its border to the entirety of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Sydney grew rapidly over the weekend.

Queensland health authorities have decided from 6am Friday 16 July masks will only be required to be worn on airports and on planes, there will be no more restrictions on hospitals and aged care facilities, and dancing is once again permitted.

Further, homes gatherings can have unrestricted numbers of attendees on the condition that details be kept if numbers exceed 100, and pubs, clubs and cafes can increase patron numbers to three per four square metres.

"We can't say we're totally free of any risk going forward," QLD chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young said.

"As long as everyone who is out there in home quarantine remains in home quarantine and has an exit test on day 12, then we can be very confident that we don't have any transmission in the community."

Deputy Premier Steven Miles has urged Queenslanders still in New South Wales to return home, noting that a total border closure to all of NSW and the ACT is unnecessary now as cases remain contained to Greater Sydney.

"Sydney continues to be the greatest national concern and we will monitor the border situation day by day while Greater Sydney remains locked down," QLD Deputy Premier Steven Miles said.

"[While] cases remain within that locked down area, we don't need to close the border just yet.

"For the sake of the nation, we all need NSW to get on top of these outbreaks."

Victoria shuts out all of NSW and ACT as Sydney case numbers spike

After the number of locally acquired COVID-19 cases hit a new daily high for Sydney's latest outbreak over the weekend, Victoria has moved to close its border to all travellers coming from both NSW and the ACT.

Under VIC's travel permit system, all of NSW and the ACT are now red zones, meaning the border is effectively closed to all travellers except to returning residents who must quarantine for 14 days from arrival and those living in border communities.

"With case numbers continuing to increase in New South Wales, Victorian public health authorities are concerned about the risks of transmission beyond current red zones in Greater Sydney and surrounds, and the potential risks this poses to the Victorian community from people entering our state," the Victorian government said.

It comes after NSW reported 77 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 yesterday, of which 33 were in the community while infectious.

Yesterday also marked the first death from COVID-19 resulting from this latest outbreak of the infectious disease - a woman in her 90s from southwest Sydney.

Because of the large number of new cases who were in the community while infectious, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she expected cases to continue surging today.

"I'm anticipating the numbers in New South Wales will be greater than 100 tomorrow. Now, that's what I'm anticipating," Berejiklian said yesterday.

"And I'll be shocked if it's less than 100 this time tomorrow, of additional new cases."

As such, it is expected Sydney's lockdown will continue past Friday 16 June.

"Given where we're at and given the lockdown was supposed to be lifted on Friday, everybody can tell it's highly unlikely at this stage, given where the numbers are," the Premier said.

"We've always been up-front about that."

WA returns to COVID-normal

As of midnight, all remaining COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in Western Australia, with Perth and Peel returning to business as usual. All mask requirements are gone and crowd limits are no more. 

Restrictions on hospital and aged care facilities are gone, dancing is back in venues, and major events can return. However, businesses are still required to maintain a COVID safety plan and events with 500 or more patrons will need to create a COVID Event Checklist.

WA will also open its borders to the Northern Territory, but NSW and QLD remain blocked off. Travel to and from New Zealand is also permitted. 

Currently, 8.8 per cent of the WA population are fully vaccinated making them the fourth most vaccinated state in the nation. 

Updated 10.39am AEST on 12 July 2021.

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