Update: Thursday, April 1
The Easter bunny won’t have to hop onto JobSeeker quite yet — news coming out of Queensland states that the lockdown will be lifted from midday today, after there was only one new local case overnight. Meaning? The Bunny is free to continue doing his job within the state.
At a press conference today, QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the snap lockdown that was put in place for Greater Brisbane will end at midday today — however, all Queenslanders who leave their home for the next fortnight are required to wear a mask.
Further rules are outlined in the Premier’s tweet below:
Original: Wednesday, March 31
As we all know by now, Greater Brisbane has gone into lockdown after 10 new cases were originally announced over the weekend — four of which were community transmission.
Overnight on Monday, an additional eight cases were announced. And this morning, March 31, we’ve heard the news that there are another three cases — two of which are community-acquired but linked to one of the original four cases.
The Australian Government Department of Health has officially declared the Greater Brisbane area as a COVID-19 hotspot, according to a release — this is for the purpose of Commonwealth support.
But as the cases go up, so does the worry about the Easter long weekend. Originally only slated for a three-day lockdown, 9News has reported that contract tracing has gone “into overdrive”, while there are dozens of venues that are high-risk, and at least 100 exposure sites that go across Queensland and New South Wales.
QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “Fingers crossed, all will be looking good for Easter. But like I said, it depends on the testing rates again. So if we see very good testing rates across Queensland and we don’t see any unlinked community transmission, the signs for Easter are looking positive.”
However, the Queensland head of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Chris Perry, said “I think we’re going to be stuck in lockdown for probably Easter,” as it’s likely more cases will be found.
Regardless, businesses around the state are already feeling the damage of the lockdown — and the changing border rules of each state.
According to The Guardian, Queensland’s tourism sector is expected to lose $35 million by the end of Easter. Daniel Gschwind, boss of Tourism Queensland, said it’s not just the hotspot being affected, and that non-affected parts are being hit by cancellations as well.
It’s not just Queensland feeling the impact. Byron Bay in NSW has also felt the damage, with tourists heading home early on the “biggest weekend of the year”, according to 9News.