Dozens of motorists have been turned away after Queensland closed its NSW road borders to stop the northern beaches COVID-19 outbreak from spreading.
Police Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said 57 vehicles containing 115 people had been denied entry into Queensland.
Several people had attempted to enter Queensland illegally including one woman from greater Sydney who lied to officers during multiple attempts to cross the border checkpoints.
“We saw a person come directly from greater Sydney, she turned up at the checkpoint here at the Gold Coast Highway and had lied to us about where she had been,” Chief Superintendent Wheeler said.
“She then attended the M1 checkpoint and attempted to gain entry there.”
Chief Superintendent Wheeler said police would not hesitate to fine anyone who breached Queensland’s strict border closures.
“We understand this is a really difficult period leading into Christmas. This will change the plans of a lot of people from both sides of the border,” he said.
“This is really necessary. This is about keeping COVID-19 out of Queensland, and we’ll continue those efforts across all of the border checkpoints and hard closures across the Queensland-NSW border.
“I think we all know it would only take one or two of those people to come in and be COVID-19 positive and we could potentially have the disease spreading in our community.”
Queensland recorded no new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with 10 cases still active across the state.
Travellers from greater Sydney have been ordered into 14-day quarantine on arrival in Queensland.
The hard NSW border shutdown was reinstated from 6am on Tuesday, causing significant delays.
Regional NSW residents will still be allowed to visit Queensland, but the border will be shut to anyone from greater Sydney until January 8.
Queenslanders who have been in Sydney since December 10 were given until 1am on Tuesday to get home, but those arriving from now on will need to be tested for COVID-19 and go into self-isolation.
Greater Sydney residents who were already in Queensland before the quarantine cut-off have been ordered to self-isolate and get tested as well.
Opposition Leader David Crisafulli didn’t criticise the border closure but said he hoped it would reopen as soon as it was safe.
In the meantime, he urged Queenslanders to consider holidaying within the state if they have the means to help the struggling tourism industry.
“That mightn’t just be within an hour’s drive of Brisbane, that might be a little further afield, it might be into the hinterland, it might even be as far away as magnificent Bundy,” he told reporters.
“If you’re a resident living in Townsville you might want to go to Maggie Island or you might want to go to Cairns, you might want to go to the Whitsundays, but if you have the capacity and you’ve got a bit of time off please do so because it will never be more important.”