Australia Easter holidays in doubt amid Greater Brisbane lockdown uncertainty
Noosa Mayor, business tell Brisbane visitors to stay away during COVID-19 lockdown
A Sunshine Coast mayor is pleading for Brisbane holidaymakers to stay away from Noosa during the three-day lockdown, as some businesses announce they won't take guests from the state's capital.The move came after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a snap lockdown would take effect from 5:00pm Monday in the Greater Brisbane area.
Easter holiday plans for millions of Queenslanders are hanging in limbo, as residents of Greater Brisbane anxiously wait to hear whether lockdown orders will be extended beyond three days.
The snap restrictions came into effect on Monday evening and are due to be lifted at 5:00pm on Thursday, ahead of the Easter long weekend.
Queensland, putting authorities on edge.
The state's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said it was "too early to decide" if the lockdown would end on Thursday as planned.
Why you won't find many Queenslanders 'outraged' by Brisbane lockdown
The expected backlash from Queenslanders to their premier's decision to lock down Greater Brisbane from Monday afternoon never came -for one simple reason. Nobody cares. Nobody who isn't going to feel it directly in their hip pocket anyway. Or who isn't planning a wedding or engagement party or has a sick relative lying in hospital over the border.Other than in those heartbreaking situations, it's pretty much business as usual.
"We'll just have to see how many cases we have and whether or not they're linked and whether or not they're in quarantine at the time that they're diagnosed," Dr Young said.
On Tuesday afternoon,amid "escalating" concerns over two COVID-19 clusters that also prompted the Commonwealth's Chief Medical Officer to declare Greater Brisbane a hotspot.
Griffith University infectious diseases expert Nigel McMillan said Queensland should expect to see more infections, as authorities weigh up a lockdown extension.
"I suspect if we have two or three cases, we might be able to lift the lockdown," Professor McMillan said.
Rain set to smash most of Australia's east coast over Easter break
A rain bomb is set to unload on Australia's east coast over Easter - but in welcome news, residents in Sydney and Melbourne are poised to escape the downpour. The news isn't as good for Brisbane residents, who are already enduring a coronavirus lockdown until Thursday evening, with heavy rainfall forecast over the break.Experts have predicted an average of 50mm along the Queensland coast.With continual drizzle forecast the next few days, Brisbane could see up to 25mm of rain on Easter Monday and Tuesday.
"If we have more than 10 cases that would probably extend the lockdown a few more days while they get the contact tracing underway.
"If we get much wider transmission, such as we had in Melbourne last year, then you have a longer community-wide lockdown.
"We're certainly not at that stage and this circuit breaker should allow us to avoid that."
Lockdown a 'bitter blow' for Easter season
There have been mass tourism cancellations across the state as people are forced to reassess their Easter travel plans.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) chief executive Daniel Gschwind said "hundreds of millions of dollars" were at stake in Greater Brisbane alone.
"Coming at the end of the 12-month crisis situation for operators, the expectation was that Easter would deliver relief and a bit of a boost to the tourism industry, and the beginning of better times," Mr Gschwind said.
Staff at Brisbane hospital's coronavirus-infected ward in isolation
All staff who entered Ward 5D at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital between 8pm on March 23 and 12pm on March 26 must self-isolate - even if they did not treat Covid-positive patients.Hospital staff who worked in an infectious disease ward at the centre of two Queensland Covid-19 clusters have been forced into isolation.
"To have that hope and aspiration dashed at the last minute is a really bitter blow, not just financially but emotionally for many operators."
Mr Gschwind urged interstate visitors to keep their travel plans for other parts of Queensland.
"Because of the blow to confidence and travellers' confidence, destinations in Queensland that are perfectly accessible and without any restrictions are also impacted," he said.
'We're still optimistic'
Noosa kayaking and camping tour operator Kym McGregor has been busy fielding cancellation calls from across south-east Queensland and interstate.
Ms McGregor said she was eagerly awaiting news about whether Greater Brisbane's lockdown would lift by the end of the week.
"We've had some people from Brisbane saying: 'Look, we're still optimistic,'" Ms McGregor said.
"I think at the moment I'm feeling like it'll be 50/50 just after [yesterday] with the new infections.
"What our hopes are is we can come out of lockdown … then once Easter holidays are really kicking in, we can go ahead as planned."
'I had a bit of a cry'
Perth resident Amy Rathmell was due to spend Easter with her sister and parents, who had planned to drive more than 4,000km from Dalby on Queensland's Darling Downs to see her.
Can I travel now Brisbane's COVID lockdown is over? Many states still have borders in place
While restrictions are easing considerably in Brisbane, most of the country is still a no-go zone for people who have been in the city.But while she has requested that other states and territories stop considering Brisbane a COVID-19 hotspot, most still have border restrictions in place.
"Mum and Dad had booked in their long service leave to come over, so we had all of the accommodation booked – we were going up north and over to the Abrolhos Islands," Ms Rathmell said.
Her parents started their long drive on Saturday but were forced to turn around when Western Australia closed its border to Queensland.
"I was very upset on Saturday when I found out – I had a bit of a cry," Ms Rathmell said.
"It was probably our first family trip altogether just the four of us in probably four or five years.
"It was particularly disappointing knowing that mum and dad are coming from a rural area, hadn't been in Brisbane, hadn't been in the Greater Brisbane area."
Katy Roubin, who spent much of last year in Melbourne's lockdown, also cancelled plans to attend her Brisbane family's traditional Easter trip amid the uncertainty.
"I was meant to fly [tonight] so I've had to just cancel the flight because it's just a bit too risky at the moment," Ms Roubin said.
"It's sadly not the first time we've been in this situation."
Khloe Kardashian lovingly cradles her 'baby bunny' True on Easter .
Khloe Kardashian lovingly cradles her 'baby bunny' true in sweet Easter snaps ahead of holiday festivities with her family. The reality tv vets spared no expense at a special day while in Palm SpringsThe 36-year-old Good American founder shared loved up snaps with she and Tristan Thompson's daughter, two, as they nuzzled up together outside of Kris Jenner's desert retreat.