Australia

Influx of tourists into Queensland as state reports two new cases of coronavirus

Cars wait to cross the border at Gold Coast Highway checkpoint on the Gold Coast. Source: AAP

Queensland Police are taking an educational rather than an enforcement approach at border checkpoints.

Queensland authorities are engaged in a balancing act, trying to let hordes of visitors into the newly reopened state while keeping the coronavirus out.

The state reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, both ADF personnel who have been in isolation since returning recently from overseas.

The Sunshine State opened its borders on Friday to interstate travellers, except those from Victoria, for the first time since 25 March.

Queensland has opened its borders and is welcoming visitors, except those from Victoria.
Queensland has opened its borders and is welcoming visitors, except those from Victoria.
AAP

It meant carloads of tourists were bumper to bumper and going nowhere fast as police scanned thousands of border passes on the Gold Coast.

Authorities are taking an educational rather than an enforcement approach at border checkpoints, Gold Coast Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler says.

"We're trying to balance the need to get people into Queensland, but also to keep COVID-19 out of Queensland," he added.

But anyone travelling from Victoria must prove they left the state more than two weeks ago.

Supt Wheeler said a Victorian caravanner who had been in NSW for three weeks could use an accommodation receipt as proof.

Queensland's airports are also teeming with interstate arrivals keen to soak up the sun and warmer weather, with another 4500 expected to touch down on the weekend.

There have been almost 314,000 downloads of the week-long border pass that is needed to enter the state.

Anyone who experiences symptoms within two weeks of their arrival in Queensland must get tested or face a $4004 fine.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state's two new cases of COVID-19 were "not considered a risk to the public".

The new cases came after three days without any cases being detected in Queensland.

They bring the number of active cases in the state to three.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones appealed to people to listen to health advice, saying the latest cases show Queensland is "not out of the woods".

"Now is not the time to relax," she said.

"Now is not the time to be lax with social distancing. Now is the time to step up and make sure you continue to practice social distancing wherever you are."

Residents in metropolitan Melbourne are subject to stay-at-home orders and can only leave home for essential work, study, exercise or care responsibilities. People are also advised to wear masks in public.

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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