Australia

Border chaos expected as Queensland reopens to all except Victorians

A police officer inspects a car at a check point on the Queensland-New South Wales border in Coolangatta on the Gold Coast. Source: AAP

Chaotic scenes are expected as Queensland reopens its borders, but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says a ban on visitors from Victoria won't be lifted soon.

Victorians will be locked out of Queensland until the southern state gets community transmission of coronavirus under control, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says.

Almost 314,000 people have now downloaded border passes to enter the Sunshine State, which reopens its borders to everyone but visitors from Victoria at noon on Friday.

Ms Palaszczuk says Victorians will remain locked out for the foreseeable future.

"As long as it takes ... I hate to say that, but it's as long as it takes until the community transmission there is under control," she told Nine Network on Friday.

"There is no community transmission in any other state or territory."

The premier has warned of long delays at border checkpoints, and urged people to delay their entry if they could.

"You could be sitting in traffic for hours," she said.

"If you're thinking about coming today, maybe think about changing your plans."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urges travellers to delay plans if possible.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urges travellers to delay plans if possible.
AAP

NSW school holiday-makers are expected to make up a large portion of incoming tourists.

And some northern and western NSW towns have reported dealing with a log-jam of caravaners waiting for Queensland to open up.

The money they'll spend will provide welcome relief for tourism operators and the hospitality sector, which have suffered huge economic losses during the 15-week border lock down.

Queensland's airports are also preparing for an influx of arrivals, but travellers will not be allowed to leave terminal buildings until restrictions officially ease at midday.

Some flights have been delayed to help avoid passenger traffic jams.

All arrivals into Queensland must hold a valid border pass, including residents returning to their home state.

The only Victorians who'll be allowed in are those who can prove they left the state at least a fortnight ago by presenting documents such as dated accommodation receipts.

Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski says officers on border checkpoints will make sure "no-one who has been in a hotspot is going to be able to bring COVID".

"We are just not going to let you in," he said.

Queensland has only two active coronavirus cases, including an 81-year-old man who has battled the illness for more than four months, and a defence force officer who returned from overseas with the virus.

Victoria has more than 3000 cases, after days of triple-digit increases.

NSW meanwhile recorded 13 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday - all of which are in hotel quarantine - from more than 18,500 tests.

Health authorities also confirmed a third case on the NSW-Victoria border town of Albury linked to two previous cases in the regional city. The case is connected to two family members who tested positive to COVID-19 in Albury earlier in the week.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is on Friday expected to consider charging Australians returning from overseas for their two-week hotel quarantine.

Earlier in the week, she flagged the matter would be raised at Friday's national cabinet meeting.

It comes as the premier has warned that the Victorian COVID-19 outbreak is a wake-up call and everyone should be "in a state of high alert".

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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