Hotspot travelers banned from Queensland as authorities suspend quarantine of COVID-19 hotels
Travel plans for those trying to settle in Queensland have been shaken by the news that the state is suspending arrivals from interstate hot spots for the next fifteen weeks.
- People who have already received a border pass “entry fee” will have to reapply
- Prime Minister said the break would help manage the capacity of quarantine hotels
- Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said authorities had failed to warn to stop a rush on people flocking to the airport
Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the two-week suspension on Wednesday, saying she was “really concerned” about growing pressure on Queensland’s hotel quarantine system.
The changes mean people traveling from COVID-19 hotspots will have to reapply for an ‘entry fee’ border pass and will need to book a hotel before being allocated a time to arrive in Queensland.
Cameron McBryde was heading to Melbourne airport for a 3 p.m. flight to Brisbane on Wednesday with his partner and two young children when he received a call informing him of the new rules.
Mr McBryde said all of the family’s belongings were already on their way to Queensland and they needed to quickly find a hotel in Melbourne instead.
“We’re in this situation with a very young family, our lease is in place here, we don’t have a house,” McBryde said.
“We were prepared to stay two weeks in a hotel in Queensland, but now it’s also fashionable.
“There isn’t much else the government is saying on the Queensland side that they can give us information on essentially until September 8th.”
Ms Palaszczuk said on Tuesday that Queensland had 5,114 people currently in hotel quarantine, with 3,257 arrivals domestically and 1,857 from overseas staying in 22 hotels.
She said the break would help manage hotel capacity – as authorities currently do not know on a daily basis how many people are entering Queensland from the highway.
“This means that we are rushing for hotels and that has to stop.”
Ms Palaszczuk said being able to offer a home quarantine to interstate arrivals was “quite complicated” and was not yet widely viewed as an option.
Anyone with a medical or humanitarian exemption will still be allowed to enter quarantine at the hotel.
The two-week suspension stopping all travelers from NSW, Victoria and ACT went into effect at noon yesterday.
Short notice leaves travelers in shock
Mr McBryde said it was frustrating to learn of the break on such short notice.
“To receive this notification on such a short notice, there is no way it was an inevitable outcome at some point. When did we find out? I was very frustrated.”
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said authorities had not given a warning to stop a rush on people flocking to the airport.
“We have to do it, otherwise a lot of people will be rushing to the airport to jump on planes,” Ms. D’Ath said.
“What we would have was an even bigger problem because we would have even bigger breakouts than what we’ve seen in the last two weeks.
Ms D’Ath said all people with an ‘entry fee’ pass, who resided in Queensland or were looking to relocate, should re-apply for their pass.
“Over the next two weeks we will then issue passes, but we will allow a period of time that people can arrive in Queensland,” said Ms D’Ath.
“It will help us better manage room capacity by knowing how many people are arriving and when, so that we can make sure they are allocated a room.
“What this will also do is that over the next fifteen weeks it will ease the capacity so that those who have exemptions already approved and request exemptions for compassionate reasons, end-of-life visits, attend a funeral, have rooms available for them. “
“I bet badly”
James Kellie, who currently lives in Batemans Bay in NSW, was packing for his Thursday morning flight to Brisbane when he heard the news.
The 31-year-old said he waited for the COVID-19 outbreak in New South Wales to subside before moving to Queensland for job opportunities, but ultimately decided to “bite the bullet bullet “and enter through the hotel quarantine.
“I knew it was going to cost a little money, I have a little bit of money aside because I was moving, but I didn’t have that much,” Kellie said.
“I was placing my bets, and obviously I bet badly.
Mr Kellie said the uncertainty over when he will be able to move has left him “with a heavy heart”.
“There are people in much worse positions than me, but it’s kind of devastating because it’s like ‘how are you gonna be in two weeks? And two more weeks after that? Will I ever get there? “
“Because I’m paying rent in Queensland right now, but I’m lucky to be able to locate myself with my parents where I can manage on very low rent and be a burden to them instead.”
Ms Palaszczuk said people who had to cancel plans to move to Queensland in the next two weeks will soon be able to move.
“They will still be able to come home, we just have this break for two weeks, then they just need to book the hotels and they can still come home,” Ms. Palaszczuk said.
“I want them to come home, if people want to move here, I want them to move here, but we just have to do it in a reasonable and orderly way.”
Cairns move plans scuttled
Pedro Gomez Nicolas and his partner Gary were about to move from Victoria to Cairns and enter hotel quarantine when they learned they had been kicked out of the state.
They sold their home in the Melbourne suburb of Werribee a month ago and their Cairns home is expected to move in next Wednesday.
Most of their belongings are packed in a container and their car is already in place in Queensland.
Mr Gomez Nicolas, 53, said he spent hours on the phone with authorities in Queensland and the Victorian era without an answer, and he said he was extremely stressed.
“In one day everything fell apart and no one is responsible or at least offers an alternative,” he said.
“Suddenly you are trapped.
“Between the two states, no one answers us and no one tries to understand our situation.
“We are going to be homeless.
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