National Cabinet on Friday declared Brisbane a national hotspot after a UK variant of COVID-19 was discovered in a cleaner at a Brisbane quarantine hotel.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Moreton, and Redland residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for four reasons from 6pm on Friday to 6pm on Monday. Traffic mayhem ensued as drivers on major roads out of Brisbane fled the city ahead of lockdown.
The message also sparked panic buying at supermarkets with product limits placed for some items (toilet rolls, paper towels, tissues, liquid soap, anti-bacterial wipes, long-life milk, pasta, etc).
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said people in Brisbane should stay where they are. “Don’t go home to another state or any other part of your state,” he said. “If you’re somewhere else and you are planning to go (to Brisbane), don’t. This is something we can’t allow to get ahead of us,” he said.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said anyone who has arrived from Queensland hotspots since 2 January should get tested and self-isolate until Monday.
A message on the site of Victoria’s DHHS states: “Anyone who has been in, visited or travelled through the local government areas of Brisbane City Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council, Redland, Ipswich or Logan city councils since 2 January should not leave those areas until at least Monday. The Queensland Government has ordered a three-day lockdown of the area. All Victorians in these areas are advised to follow the guidance of the Queensland Government and any Victorian with plans to travel to these areas should cancel them.”
Western Australia and the Northern Territory also shut down their borders with Brisbane upon Premier Palaszczuk’s announcement. A Jetstar flight from Brisbane to Uluru was turned around after the city was declared a hotspot, whereas passengers who arrived on planes into the Northern Territory from Brisbane today had the option of having their $2,500 quarantine costs waived or were offered a free flight home.