Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said on Tuesday she was “very grateful” for the group’s co-operation, but warned the number of Queenslanders linked to the outbreak would likely grow.
No new cases were recorded in Queensland on Wednesday, with four remaining active in the state and just one of these in hospital. Almost 6800 tests were carried out in the 24 hours to midday.
Wednesday morning saw further scenes of stalled traffic at Gold Coast border checkpoints, though police expressed confidence that delays of up to two hours would ease as the public caught up with new hotspot declarations.
District Chief Superintendent Wheeler told reporters that the addition of the Campbelltown and Liverpool city regions in NSW to Queensland’s list on Tuesday meant many travellers may not have had time to update their declarations.
“The delays are very unfortunate but they are unavoidable at the moment,” he said. “We will see things improve, provided there haven’t been more hotspots declared.”
“We are working as hard as we can to get people through but we do need to apply an appropriate level of scrutiny for those NSW vehicles, and also importantly [those from] Victoria.”
Ms Palaszczuk said she had asked people to plan their trips and added that the delays were not unique to Queensland.
“I don’t make any apologies for delays at the borders,” she said.
Suggestions from Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate of shifting the state line south to the Tweed River to help with control measures and ease of movement for border communities were brushed off.
“I don’t think the Tweed Shire Council would like to be absorbed as part of the Gold Coast City Council,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“These are border communities … there’s issues as you know between the NSW and Victoria border at the moment as well.”
Travellers who have been within one of the declared hotspots — which includes all of Victoria — in the previous 14 days have been barred from entering the state.
Queensland residents returning from the regions are being directed into self-funded hotel quarantine.
The government hopes this week to boost the maximum penalty for anyone who providing false information on their border declaration, or refuses to be tested if they develop symptoms within 14 days of crossing the border, from a $4003 fine to sixth months in jail.
Matt Dennien is a reporter with Brisbane Times.