• Palm Island, December 12, 2004. Aerial view of the township on Palm Island off the coast of Townsville in north Queensland. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) (AAP)Source: AAP
The remote community of Palm Island will be locked down from midnight tonight with travel in and out restricted to essential services.
Douglas Smith

25 Mar 2020 - 2:13 PM  UPDATED 25 Mar 2020 - 2:15 PM

A travel restriction will come into effect for Bwgcolman-Palm Island, located 70 kilometres north of Townsville, at midnight Thursday morning in a bid to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 in the remote community. 

Implemented by the Palm Island Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG), only essential services will be allowed into the community, which includes medical staff, emergency services, teachers, tradies, food transport and Community Development Program (CDP) management.  

Acting CEO of the Palm Island Shire Council, Ross Higgins spoke to NITV News on Wednesday and said he expected some community members may not like the decision, but that it was in the best interest of everyone's "health and well-being."

“These decisions are being made in the interest that we can keep the Coronavirus out of community and make sure that all residents and especially the elderly and vulnerable are supported as best as we can," said Mr Higgins.

"This is a ever-evolving situation where the decisions that were made yesterday, may be different to the decisions that are made today, which may be different to the decisions that are made tomorrow, but we're following the guidance of Queensland Health and the State and Federal Governments in relation to this matter."

Mr Higgins said the LDMG was working with suppliers in keeping shelves stocked at the local supermarket, working with SeaLink Queensland to transport food from the mainland. 

In addition to the restrictions, people will be prohibited from using boats to hunt or fish for food until the restriction has been lifted.  

Additionally, the council has urged the following people not to travel to Palm Island: 

  • Any person who has been diagnosed with or suspected to be infected with Coronavirus;

  • Any person who is feeling unwell or has had close contact with someone who is unwell, in the last 14 days;

  • Any person who has travelled overseas or has had close contact with someone who has travelled overseas, in the last 14 days

For more information about COVID-19 contact 13 HEALTH.

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