Just when we thought we were over the outbreaks and snap lockdowns of early 2021, and that all of Australia was "green" for domestic travel, the Greater Brisbane area will enter lock down from 5pm tonight until at least 5pm on 1 April 2021. This is in response to seven cases of locally acquired COVID-19 in that region over the past few days. And of course, the timing couldn't be worse, with the much sought-after Easter break in a few days' time.
As with previous outbreaks, I am very confident that the Queensland Government's contact tracing teams will get on top of things very quickly, and am hopeful that the lockdown will end as planned. However, as of today the ACT Government is advising people living in the ACT not to travel to Greater Brisbane at this time.
It is up to every individual to assess their need to travel and to understand the current situation in the area that they will be visiting. Before you travel, you should check the information on border closures and restrictions in the area you are planning to visit.
The ACT Government's travel advice contains the most up to date information on travel for ACT residents, including travel to currently designated COVID-19 affected areas. It is strongly recommended that you don't visit any COVID-19 affected areas.
If you do decide to visit Brisbane or any other affected area that might emerge, you should continue to practice your regular COVID-safe measures and also wear a mask or face covering, particularly when you are in indoor public spaces. At present, masks are mandatory in the Greater Brisbane area.
Even with these measures, you will be subjected to additional requirements when you return to the ACT. At this time, people entering the ACT from Brisbane will be required to quarantine upon their return. Even if this requirement is lifted, it is likely that they will not be able to visit or work in high risk settings, including hospitals, aged care facilities, and correctional facilities for 14 days after leaving the COVID-19 affected area.
Wherever you go, remember to continue to practice physical distancing and good hygiene at all times and also monitor the relevant state and territory COVID-19 information pages and local media, as the local COVID-19 situation can change very quickly.
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Even with this small setback, Australia is still in great shape from a COVID-19 perspective. There are plenty of great places you can visit over Easter and if you are sensible and safe in your travel plans, there is no reason why you can't enjoy a well-earned Easter break.
Professor Air Vice-Marshal (Ret) Tracy Smart AO
Professor, Military and Aerospace Medicine
Public Health Lead - COVID Response Office
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