Coronavirus updates LIVE: Greater Brisbane enters lockdown after UK COVID strain discovered; Sydney’s upper northern beaches exits lockdown

Summary

  • Brisbane residents are in lockdown until at least 6pm on Monday and masks are mandatory as of 6pm Friday, in response to the UK virus variant discovered in a hotel quarantine cleaner on Thursday.
  • NSW recorded four locally acquired cases on Friday, with one from the Avalon cluster yet to be linked to a source. The upper northern beaches will exit lockdown at midnight tonight.
  • Victoria recorded no new cases for a second day on Friday, as Premier Daniel Andrews flagged he would make border announcements next week.
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced caps on international arrivals will be halved in NSW, Western Australia and Queensland until February 15. WA has closed its border to Queensland.
  • International flight crews will be subject to stricter conditions and testing, while quarantine workers across Australia will be subject to stricter testing requirements.

Victoria declares Brisbane 'red zones'; residents barred entry from today

Victorians who have returned from Queensland since January 2 will need to get a coronavirus test and isolate until Monday, as Victorian health authorities warn residents to "reconsider" travel to the sunshine state.

Victoria closed the border at 11.59pm on Friday to anyone who had been in a Queensland "red zone" – Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Ipswich, Redlands and Logan – on or after January 2.

“You will not be able to enter Victoria,” the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said on Twitter. “If you have a trip planned to Queensland, please reconsider.”

Those who have returned from Queensland to Victoria since January 2 will need to get tested and isolate until 6pm on Monday, and await further DHHS advice.

Victoria’s COVID response commander Jeroen Weimar said Victorians who are currently in green zone parts of Queensland should considering coming home, due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation in the state.

“If you’re in Greater Brisbane, then stay there,” Mr Weimar told 3AW on Friday.

“The Queensland government is asking everybody in the Greater Brisbane area to stay exactly where they are, stay locked down for three days to Monday, while they try to find out as much as they can about this case and any contacts.

“I would not be planning a trip to Queensland at this time. At this point, there’s no closure on other parts of Queensland, but my advice would be to start making plans to come home, unless you intend to be up there for a significant period of time.

“As we’ve seen with NSW, we don’t know how this stuff is going to pan out over the space of the coming days and weeks."

New venues in Burwood and Avalon added to NSW alert list

NSW Health has listed several new venues in Burwood, in Sydney's inner west, that have been visited by a confirmed COVID-19 case.

Anyone who attended the following venues at the listed times is a casual contact. They must get tested immediately and self-isolate until they receive a negative result:

  • Artisaint Café, the ground floor, 60 Burwood Rd, Burwood, on Wednesday 6 January, 10.30am – 11am
  • Bing Lee, 103, Burwood Rd, Burwood, Wednesday 6 January, 11.25am – 11.40am

People who attended the next set of venues at the times listed should monitor for symptoms. If symptoms occur, get tested immediately and self-isolate until you receive a negative result.

  • Westfield Burwood Shopping Centre, 100 Burwood Rd, Burwood, Wednesday 6 January, 11.45am – 1.30pm and Thursday 7 January, 1pm – 2pm
  • Kmart, Westfield Burwood, 100 Burwood Rd, Burwood, Wednesday 6 January, 11.45am – 12.15pm
  • House, Westfield Burwood, Shop 318-319/100 Burwood Rd, Wednesday 6 January, 12.20pm – 12.30pm
  • Coles Burwood, 100 Wilga St and Shaftesbury Rd, Burwood, Wednesday 6 January, 12.40pm – 1.20pm and Thursday 7 January, 1.20pm – 1.55pm
  • Artisaint Café, the ground floor, 60 Burwood Rd, Burwood, Thursday 7 January, 1.10pm – 1.20pm

People who went to Costume in Avalon at 2/21-23 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach, on Thursday 31 December between 2pm – 2.15pm, should also monitor for symptoms and get tested if they appear.

A full list of venues is also available here.

Brisbane wakes up to day one of a three-day lockdown

Here are some reactions to Brisbane's three-day lockdown, from our reporters in Queensland:

  • Health experts have backed Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's decision to lock down Greater Brisbane for three days in a bid to stop the highly infectious UK mutant strain of COVID-19 from taking hold in the community. Former Queensland Chief Health Officer and QUT Emeritus Professor Gerry Fitzgerald said the decision to go into a three-day lockdown was akin to a "short, sharp shock". Australian Medical Association Queensland president Chris Perry also issued a statement saying doctors welcomed the three-day lockdown. "Little is known about the peculiar characteristics of the new COVID strain from the UK and, until we understand how best to protect frontline health workers and the community, we must take an abundance of caution," Professor Perry said.
  • While businesses in the five south-east Queensland council areas going into lockdown this weekend understand the risk posed by the UK COVID-19 strain, owners and managers were frustrated by the short notice – 10 hours – given by the Premier and Chief Health Officer on Friday.

    Some were angered by images from supermarkets in parts of the lockdown zone – Brisbane, Ipswich, Redland, Logan and Moreton Bay – showing mass panic buying, with several bar owners saying the risk of virus transmission was greater in those supermarkets than their venues.

  • And the door to a longer lockdown remains open, as health authorities investigate the source of infection for the Brisbane hotel worker. Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath warned that Brisbane's three-day lockdown could be extended if the best-case scenario doesn't eventuate. Ms D'Ath said there were "a lot of hypotheticals" about what will come next, but the government will assess the results on a rolling basis over the weekend.

    The best case scenario would involve no new community cases. "But of course, [the] worst-case scenario is we're seeing broad community transmission, and [we're] looking at everything that could be in between," she said.

    What you need to know as you start the day

    Good morning, and welcome to our continuing live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

    It's been an eventful 24 hours: Brisbane this morning woke to its first day of a lockdown, while residents of Sydney's upper northern beaches are facing their last day before restrictions lift.

    Before we bring you today's developments, here is a recap of yesterday's events:

    • Brisbane residents are in lockdown until at least 6pm on Monday and masks are mandatory as of 6pm Friday, in response to the UK virus variant discovered in a hotel quarantine cleaner on Thursday.
    • People who have been in Brisbane since January 2 and are now outside the city must still follow isolation directions this weekend. That includes people now in other parts of Queensland, such as the Sunshine or Gold Coasts, as well as people interstate.
    • WA introduced an immediate hard border with Queensland from 12.01am on Saturday. Victoria banned entry to people from greater Brisbane from midnight.
    • NSW recorded four locally acquired cases, with one from the Avalon cluster yet to be linked to a source. Despite NSW Health reservations, the upper northern beaches will exit lockdown at midnight tonight.
    • Victoria recorded no new cases for a second day, as Premier Daniel Andrews flagged he would make border announcements next week.

    And national cabinet introduced a raft of tightened new measures for international arrivals:

    • Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced caps on international arrivals will be halved in NSW, Western Australia and Queensland until February 15.
    • Overseas travellers must now return a negative COVID-19 test result prior to their departure to Australia, with some exemptions for "extenuating circumstances".
    • Masks will be mandatory in airports and on all international and domestic flights.
    • Flight crews will be subject to stricter conditions and testing, while quarantine workers across Australia will be subject to stricter testing requirements.

    You can find the border restrictions currently in place for each state and territory here.

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