On Friday morning when Brisbane announced a sudden and decisive three-day lockdown from 6pm on Friday January 8 to stop the spread of the highly contagious UK strain of COVID-19, accommodations throughout the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast reported a surge in weekend bookings! Did Brisbane residents take advantage of the notice period to escape to the coast?
The Brisbane lockdown was imposed in response to one case of a new variant of the virus identified in the city late on Thursday. Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told the people of Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Redlands and Logan to stay at home until 6pm on Monday 11, 2020.
Exceptions to the directive include: to attend work if you can’t work from home; to buy essentials like groceries and medicine; look after the vulnerable; and exercise within their neighbourhood. Masks are compulsory everywhere except at home.
When news broke that a cleaner from a quarantine hotel in Brisbane tested positive, the premier said: “There are no second chances with this pandemic, that’s why I’m asking people to have a long weekend at home. We have learned from Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales that a short, sharp lockdown is better than a long one and this a more contagious strain.
“Three days is better than 30.”
The premier also reminded Queenslanders of their responsibility to protect each other.
She said: “All we can do is stay home and stay safe and please get tested.”
On Sunday, zero new cases were reported and the premier was hopeful that a crisis may be averted but asked people to continue to get tested.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said extra testing clinics with more staff had been opened she said: “We want to see as many people tested as possible and people stay home and stay safe.”
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said it was essential to stop people moving through the community.
“We know that to stop the spread of the virus we have to stop the movement of people and test, test, test,” Dr Young said.
“Queenslanders have done a tremendous job of containing this virus for so long- we just have to keep it up.”
Queensland Tourism Industry Council responded to the news by saying, this measure is taken in response to the confirmed case of a quarantine hotel worker who tested positive to the more infectious UK strain of the COVID virus. The infected person visited several locations and all close contacts are now being investigated to limit any spread.
QTIC CEO Daniel Gschwind said: “Needless to say, this will have significant impacts on tourism and hospitality businesses, and we urge all operators to consult the official Queensland Health website and refer to the Premier’s release. The prompt Queensland action, as distressing as it is, will hopefully minimise the damage: short-term pain for long term gain. We live in hope.”
Guidance regarding movement in and out of Greater Brisbane:
- Stay at home and in your neighbourhood
- People can choose to enter Brisbane during this period but are bound by the same restrictions for this period. Where possible people are encouraged to delay travel
- People can enter greater Brisbane to attain health care
- People should not leave Greater Brisbane during this period
- Non-residents currently in Greater Brisbane are strongly encouraged to remain until the end of the restriction period.
Reasons for leaving home:
- Essential education and work, although work from home where possible
- Health care or support of a vulnerable person
- Essential shopping but within your local area
- Exercise in your neighbourhood (local area) with no more than one person from your household
- Masks are to be worn at all times when outside of your place of residence, this includes in workplaces and public transport
- 20 people can attend funerals, 10 people can attend weddings (no dancing or singing)
- Limit of two visitors in homes
- Restaurants and cafes to provide takeaway service only
- Cinemas, entertainment and recreation venues, gyms etc to close
- Places of worship to close