Australia Police crack down on truck drivers from COVID-19 hotspots crossing Queensland border
Why is the Queensland-New South Wales border still open, despite a COVID-19 case in a regional area?
All eyes are on Queensland to see if it will follow other states in implementing a hard border with New South Wales after the unfolding COVID-19 Delta outbreak spread to a regional area.It is a decision residents on the Queensland-NSW border have been anxiously awaiting, with many concerned about the impact it would have on businesses.
A truck driver from a COVID-19 hotspot who tried to enter Queensland with falsified documents has been placed into hotel quarantine.
The state recorded no new locally acquired coronavirus cases today, but authorities have toughened up border checks for truck drivers at the weekend.
Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said 29 drivers who had come out of known hotspots were intercepted at the Queensland border on the weekend.
He said one of those was placed into quarantine.
"That particular driver had completely falsified records, was not cooperative with our investigation and in fact had come out of a hotspot," Mr Gollschewski said.
Surge of migrants attempted US border crossing in June: police
The number of migrants caught by US authorities illegally crossing the Mexico border surged by 4.5 percent in June, despite predictions of a falloff in hot summer weeks, border police announced Friday. US Customs and Border Protection said nearly 189,000 people were picked up crossing the border in June without official travel documents, up from 180,641 in May and just over 33,000 a year ago. The number of children crossing without parents or guardians, who the US government promises to resettle in the US rather than push back into Mexico, jumped by eight percent from May, totaling 15,253 -- or more than 500 minors a day.
"All the others — it was a matter of working through with them and making sure they had the appropriate pass because they did have an exemption under the [Chief Health Officer's] direction."
Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said the onus is on drivers and that police will be moving from an "educating and monitoring" approach to "engagement and enforcement".
"This operation will continue for the foreseeable future until we can get the compliance we need out of this particular sector," he said.
Freight drivers need to be tested: Dr Young
While border restrictions remain unchanged for Queensland, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said authorities were concerned truck drivers had "lapsed" in complying with the rules.
COVID test every two days for some truck drivers crossing the Victoria–SA border
A trucking industry figure says the requirement for drivers to get tested for COVID every two days will lead to more drivers quitting the industry. Under new directions issued by the government last night, truck drivers crossing the Victoria–South Australia border will have to undergo a COVID test within 24 hours of entry into South Australia, unless they can show they have had a test in the prior 48 hours.That compares to an earlier requirement to get a test once a week.It means truck drivers on daily routes across the border will have to get a test up to every two days.
Dr Young said an agreement was made with the freight industry to have drivers tested "every seven days" to allow trucks to continue.
Queensland police launched an operation over the weekend and found 83 of 226 heavy vehicle drivers entering the state did not have the appropriate passes.
"I can understand why that has lapsed when there weren't any cases anywhere in Australia," Dr Young said.
"It's important that that requirement is immediately back in place so that any freight driver that arrives in Queensland from any declared hotspot … has been tested."
The tightening comes after two removalists travelled from New South Wales to South Australia via Melbourne while infectious earlier this month.
The cases led to a statewide lockdown of Victoria
Dr Young said Queensland Health is working with freight industry stakeholders to make sure truck drivers follow health directives.
Truckies flout COVID rules on Qld border
More than 80 drivers were found without valid passes on Queensland's border over the weekend, with 29 of them arriving from a declared hotspot.Police intercepted 226 heavy vehicles over the weekend operation, 83 of which did not have a valid border pass.
She said any driver who has been in the NSW local government hotspot areas will need to give evidence of a negative result before entering the state.
No community cases in Queensland a 'fantastic result'
Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said at this point there were no changes to the New South Wales/Queensland border.
"So far there has been no transmission outside of the local government areas that we have declared a hotspot in NSW", Ms D'Ath said.
"Also, there has been no positive sewage results outside of the local government hotspots."
Ms D'Ath said the sewage and community transmission results are "two critical factors" that meant "the risk at this stage is contained within the LGAs we have already identified".
"We know putting in place a physical hard border on the NSW/Queensland border is very logistically difficult [and] impacts significantly on those border towns," she said.
"We will only do this if we absolutely have to."
Ms D'Ath said Queensland Health is monitoring NSW "every single day".
The state recorded two cases in hotel quarantine among international arrivals, but no new cases were found in the community, which Acting Premier Steven Miles said was a "fantastic result".
"[It] follows a weekend where we also had no new locally acquired cases," he said.
There are 36 active cases in Queensland.
Mask-wearing and restrictions continue will remain in place for some South East Queensland regions until later this week.
Passenger trapped after truck crashes into bus in NSW Blue Mountains .
Emergency service crews are on the scene of the accident on the Great Western Highway in the Blue Mountains.The accident occurred around 7.30am when a truck crashed into the bus on the Great Western Highway at Lawson.