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Coronavirus Queensland LIVE updates: tougher border controls and death roll rises

Premier Mark McGowan has announced the state border will close at midnight on Sunday, saying WA would effectively become “an island within an island”.

“Our isolation is now our best defence, we need to use it to the best of our advantage,” he said.

WA Premier Mark McGowan.

WA Premier Mark McGowan.Credit:Lauren Pilat

“Some might think it’s over the top and unnecessary, I can assure them that it is not.

“To any West Australian over east who is thinking of coming back to WA, you need to come home to WA and come home now, I cannot stress that enough.”

The “drastic but workable” move would include exemptions for health services, freight, fly-in, fly-out workers and compassionate grounds.

Any FIFO worker and their family seeking to enter WA after Sunday will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

“We worked closely with the resource industry to come to a solution to make sure this important industry continues to operate,” Mr McGowan said.

In addition to turning away people at road borders from midnight tonight, Queensland police will also be doing so at the state’s largest airport.

Brisbane Airport has advised that from 12.01am Friday, anyone who is not a Queensland resident or lacks the required entry pass will be held on site and returned to where they came from on the next available flight.

Passengers are becoming a rarity at Brisbane's domestic airport terminal.

Passengers are becoming a rarity at Brisbane’s domestic airport terminal.Credit:Darren England/AAP

Similar measures will be enforced on the road borders, with police to turn away non-residents and those not exempt from the controls.

“[Police] will have a significant presence at Brisbane Airport to enforce these restrictions,” the airport said in a statement.

One baggage collection area has been cordoned off by police to allow them to process returning passengers.

Further restrictions around fly-in-fly-out workers will also come into effect from Saturday, restricting access to the state for only those deemed critical to operations.

An apprentice jockey, who had been ordered to self isolate after travelling from south-east Queensland to Rockhampton, has been disqualified for six months by the state’s racing watchdog.

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission has implemented strict new zoning rules in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic to restrict travel between regions.

The jockey's identity has not been disclosed.

The jockey’s identity has not been disclosed.Credit:Jenny Evans

In a statement, the commission said the jockey rode in the Rockhampton region on Wednesday after being directed to stand down and self-quarantine for 14 days.

Commissioner Ross Barnett said the jockey’s actions placed the industry and community at risk.

“These new rules are currently protecting the livelihoods of thousands of people in the racing industry, to flout them shows a total disregard for the difficult situation everyone is currently facing,” he said.

More than one in 10 of Queensland’s COVID-19 cases are people who travelled on cruise ships before testing positive, Queensland Health has revealed.

Authorities today confirmed 74 of the state’s cases had travelled on the Ruby Princess, 25 on the Ovation of the Seas, seven on the Voyager of the Seas two and four on the Celebrity Solstice.

The Ruby Princess, docked in Sydney on March 19.

The Ruby Princess, docked in Sydney on March 19.Credit:Kate Geraghty

That total of 110 equates to a 13 per cent share of the 835 confirmed cases in Queensland. All three of the reported deaths within the state had also been cruise passengers.

The figure also makes cruise ship passengers the fourth largest group when compared to the spread of cases across hospital and health service districts – the way in which Queensland Health is releasing case data.

Metro North public health region has so far had 242 cases after a jump of 26 since yesterday, with 191 recorded in Metro South and 165 on the Gold Coast after increases of three and 17 respectively.

Mackay has also recorded five new cases since yesterday, with a further two on the Darling Downs and one each in Townsville and the Wide Bay areas.

Childcare will be free for all parents and carers who currently send their children to a centre from next week, and will even be subsidised for many who do not currently use it.

Education Minister Dan Tehan said that from Monday, free childcare would be available to working parents and carers, as well as those who are not working, but studying or looking for work.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan and Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Canberra earlier today.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan and Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Canberra earlier today.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“If they have an existing relationship with a childcare centre and they’re sending their children to that childcare centre then yes, they will get it for free under this arrangement,” Mr Tehan said in an interview on ABC TV.

The offer will also be extended to out-of-hours school care and to family day care centres that operate out of carers’ homes, Mr Tehan said.

Any parents who currently do not use childcare, but want to, could access free care if a place at a centre is available.

“Preference is being given to those who are currently working and using childcare … but where we can help and assist others who now need childcare to help us fight the pandemic then we will be doing what we can to try and find them places,” Mr Tehan said.

Boxer Tim Tszyu has shut down a proposal to fight Jeff Horn in an empty stadium, predicting the event will become even bigger when crowds are again allowed to fill sporting arenas.

Tszyu-Horn was originally scheduled to take place in Townsville on April 22, although the coronavirus lockdown resulted in a postponement.

Horn’s promoter, Dean Lonergan, flagged the idea of a two-fight series, the first of which would be held behind closed doors and beamed to a pay-per-view audience. The plan was to give sports-starved fans television content before staging a rematch once the pandemic had passed.

Read more from Adrian Proszenko here.

All three people who have died from COVID-19 in Queensland had been aboard cruise ships in the weeks leading up their deaths.

An 85-year-old man who died at Toowoomba hospital overnight had been a passenger on the Ruby Princess cruise ship, Queensland’s Premier has confirmed.

The man died a few days after another Ruby Princess passenger, 75-year-old Karla Lake, died at the Caboolture Hospital at the weekend.

Karla Lake died in Caboolture Hospital, north of Brisbane, on Sunday morning.

Karla Lake died in Caboolture Hospital, north of Brisbane, on Sunday morning.Credit:Pialba Bowls Club

A total of 71 Queenslanders have tested positive for the virus after travelling on the Ruby Princess, Queensland Health Director-General John Wakefield said.

A third Queensland man, Garry Kirstenfeldt, 68, died from COVID-19 after travelling on another cruise, the Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas.

A fourth Queenslander died from the virus last month, but has not been included in the state’s death toll as she passed away in Sydney.

A Brisbane woman working from home is frustrated that postmen are not buzzing her doorbell during the pandemic.

Greenslopes resident Nicole Goddard says she has received Australia Post cards and text messages this week to pick up small parcels despite being home.

“I’m ordering things online so I don’t have to go to the shops,” she said.

“It’s frustrating when I’m trying to do what the government says, by avoiding going outside, but the delivery driver refuses to come to my door.”

Ms Goddard says she was told by her local Australia Post office that drivers were unable to mount their motorbikes to knock.

“It defeats the whole entire purpose of ordering online and trying to stay at home,” she says.

However, an Australia Post spokesman says this is untrue.

“[I] can confirm that our posties and drivers are definitely still delivering parcels to the door,” he says.

“While our process has changed somewhat in light of concerns around coronavirus, namely that drivers and posties keep an appropriate distance from the door and from customers, and that we no longer require signature on delivery, they are still knocking on doors.”

A statement on Australia Post’s website said its priority was to protect its people, customers and community.

“In this challenging environment, we do need to respond and adapt to how we are operating and this means making some changes to our collection times,” it says.

The statement says all metropolitan collection times for all products will be brought forward to 2pm for Australia Post red van collection, 3pm for retail outlets and 4pm latest collection time for street post boxes.

“Our posties and drivers will continue to provide contactless doorstep collections, so please help them out and remember to keep your distance to protect the safety of you and them at this time.”

Supermarket giant Woolworths will cut back opening hours at a number of Queensland stores to focus on boosting online deliveries to those forced into self-isolation by COVID-19.

Stores in 41 locations across the state will open to the public from 9am to 6pm each day to give staff members more time to pack online orders for “priority assistance” customers including the elderly, people with disability and compromised immunity, and those in mandatory isolation.

Due to the changes, rolled out across stores including Annerley, Chermside, Coorparoo, Ipswich, Everton Park, Albany Creek and Carseldine, the recently established “community hour” will no longer be available.

Managing director Claire Peters says the move comes after an “extraordinary level of demand” for groceries in recent weeks.

Reducing trading hours in some of our stores to turn them into ‘Priority Delivery Hubs’ will help us assist more people who can’t access a store to get products they need.

“Reducing trading hours in some of our stores to turn them into ‘Priority Delivery Hubs’ will help us assist more people who can’t access a store to get products they need,” she says.

Queensland households are now allowed to have two visitors, as long as they are not strangers.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk clarified the rules on Thursday after widespread confusion about how many people were allowed inside a house.

On Monday, Health Minister Steven Miles said the only people allowed to welcome a visitor to their home were those living alone.

That rule has now been altered.

Partners living in separate sharehouses will be allowed to visit one another, and children moving between their parents’ homes as part of an agreed custody cycle can continue to do so.

Ms Palaszczuk said enforcing the rules was “really complex because no family is exactly the same”.

Read the full story here.

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