The Queensland border has slammed shut on millions of Australians as the state reels from two new virus infections in residents returning from interstate.

Weeks after reopening the state to most of Australia, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has declared all of greater Sydney a virus hotspot, with the region’s five million residents to be banned from entering the state from 1am on Saturday.

Queenslanders who return after visiting greater Sydney have to quarantine for 14 days upon their return, at their expense.

It comes as Sydney battles spikes in COVID-19 cases in western and southwestern Sydney as well as the inner city suburb of Potts Point.

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“There has been more outbreaks in other parts of greater Sydney and that will now become another declared hotspot,” Ms Palaszczuk said today.

“We are monitoring the situation in NSW every single day,” she added.

“We do not want a second wave here and we do not want widespread community transmission.”

Prior to the announcement, Queensland had barred interstate travellers from the entire state of Victoria as well as the Sydney local government areas of Fairfield, Liverpool and Campbelltown due to notable outbreaks including the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park and the Crossroads Hotel in Casula.

But from Saturday, Queensland’s ban will apply to the entire greater Sydney region, which is home to more than five million residents.

Greater Sydney encompasses 34 council areas and stretches from Wyong and Gosford in the north to the Royal National Park in the south, and out west to the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Wollondilly council areas.

Queenslanders who visit a designated hotspot are already required to undergo mandatory self-funded quarantine for 14 days upon returning home.

AREAS BANNED BY QUEENSLAND

In addition to the entire state of Victoria, the following local government areas in greater Sydney have been declared a virus hotspot by the Queensland Government:

• Bayside

• Blacktown

• Blue Mountains

• Burwood

• Camden

• Campbelltown (already a hotspot)

• Canada Bay

• Canterbury-Bankstown

• Central Coast

• Cumberland

• Fairfield (already a hotspot)

• Georges River

• Hawkesbury

• Hornsby

• Hunter’s Hill

• Inner West

• Ku-ring-gai

• Lane Cove

• Liverpool (already a hotspot)

• Mosman

• North Sydney

• Northern Beaches

• Parramatta

• Penrith

• Randwick

• Ryde

• Strathfield

• Sutherland Shire

• City of Sydney

• The Hills Shire

• Waverley

• Willoughby

• Wollondilly Shire

• Woollahra

Today’s announcement will affect any Queenslanders currently in greater Sydney despite Ms Palaszczuk’s previous warnings against travelling to NSW and Victoria.

The Premier said the Saturday deadline would “give notice to Queenslanders that may have returned home or may want to return home”.

“It will cause inconvenience to families and I know there may be many events planned over the next few days, few weeks but it is too important,” she said.

“We must protect Queenslanders. Your safety comes first and we are in extraordinary times at the moment.”

RESPONSE FOLLOWS TWO NEW CASES

The hardened border comes as two Queensland teenagers who re-entered the state from Melbourne via Sydney and dodged quarantine were confirmed to have COVID-19.

Ms Palaszczuk said she was “furious” by the teenagers’ actions.

“We have to act swiftly and quickly, and let me assure Queenslanders that we have been preparing for these scenarios,” she said.

“We have done this before and we would do it again, but because of the negligent actions of these two we now have to do a lot of contact tracing and it is going to be an inconvenience to many people.”

Ms Palaszczuk acknowledged the hardened border would have an impact on the state’s battered tourism industry but “Queenslanders’ health comes first”.

She denied the strong response to the two new cases was an “over-reaction”.

“It’s not an over-reaction because these two (teenagers) have been out in the community and hopefully it has not spread but time will tell, and that is why the quick action has been taken this morning,” she said.

The move to close borders to Greater Sydney has blindsided NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who told 10 News she received “no prior notice” of the Queensland Government’s plan.

“It would have been nice if she told me,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters today.

Ms Berejiklian said the border closures were a “matter for the Queensland Government and a matter for her (Ms Palaszczuk).”

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