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Millions of Australians to learn if Brisbane’s lockdown will end TODAY – as NSW border wars drag on

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Brisbane residents will learn today whether they will be allowed out of a snap three-day lockdown as New South Wales and Victoria continue trading border barbs.

The Greater Brisbane lockdown is set to expire at 6pm on Monday and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will be under pressure to lift restrictions after Queensland recorded zero new locally acquired coronavirus cases for the third day in a row.

The state’s chief health officer Jeannette Young on Sunday refused to commit to lifting the lockdown, however, until she sees Monday’s figures.

Airlines have been thrown into chaos with flights cancelled as other states and territories began closing or restricting their borders to Queensland. 

Ms Palaszczuk is expected to make an announcement about the lockdown at 9am on Monday. 

Queensland recorded no new cases of coronavirus on Sunday but Brisbane residents have no guarantee yet they will come out of lockdown on Monday. Pictured: Brisbane, Sunday 

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young

Queensland Premier Palaszczuk (left) and Chief Health Officer Young (right) would not say on Sunday whether the restrictions would expire on Monday night

It comes after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian fired a subtle shot at the Victorian Government, complaining borders were shut without proper consultation.

Her claim was immediately denied by Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday he hoped to reopen the border to NSW as soon as next week.

‘Hopefully settings can change fairly soon, maybe next week, maybe early next week,’ he said.

‘The border will be closed not one moment longer than it needs to be.’ 

The Queensland Premier took to Twitter on Sunday to outline why the lockdown was needed. She also wrote an opinion piece in the Sunday Mail

The Queensland Premier took to Twitter on Sunday to outline why the lockdown was needed. She also wrote an opinion piece in the Sunday Mail

New South Wales recorded three new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, NSW Health said on Sunday.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant revealed the three were close contacts of known cases missed by contact tracers – and they had been out in the community while infectious.

NSW Health issued a public health alert on Sunday for a string of new venues mainly in Bankstown in Sydney’s southwest.

Anyone who visited Bankstown Central Shopping Centre’s Big W, Smiggle and Oporto in the Food Court on 6 January (11.30am to 2pm) and 8 January (1pm to 2.30pm) is a casual contact and must get tested and isolate immediately.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews

The border bickering between NSW and Victoria continued Sunday with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (left) complaining other states shut borders without consultation. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (right) said he hoped to open the border to NSW on Monday

The same alert has been issued for Bankstown Central Shopping Centre’s Target, Myer, Best and Less for 6 January (11.30am to 2pm) and for Bankstown Service NSW on 8 January (11.45am to 1pm).

Anyone who visited the Thai Hung Supermarket in Marrickville in Sydney’s southwest on Thursday 31 December (3.45pm to 4.45pm) is also a close contact and must get tested immediately and isolate. 

All the health alerts for scores of venues and public transport routes can be found on the NSW Health website. 

There are now 109 active coronavirus cases in NSW from the latest round of outbreaks that escalated in December. 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian shot a veiled barb at Victoria’s Labor Premier on Sunday as she complained about ‘other states’ shutting borders without asking first.

‘Firstly, please talk to us in New South Wales before you close the border,’ she said in her coronavirus update on Sunday.

‘Closing a border can affect literally tens and hundreds of thousands of people, depending on where it is, and that’s a big call.’ 

An estimated 60,000 people made a mad dash to the Victorian border before midnight on New Year’s Day after the state suddenly shut its borders to avoid a NSW coronavirus outbreak.

Checkpoint queues stretched more than 40km as motorists rushed to cross to avoid having to spend 14 days in home quarantine. 

Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley immediately rejected Ms Berejiklian’s criticism on Sunday, saying his colleagues had kept NSW fully informed ahead of the closure.

When asked if Victoria had told the NSW government ahead of time that they would close the border, Mr Foley said: ‘Yes’.    

NSW Health issued coronavirus alerts for a slew of shops at Bankstown Central Shopping Centre Sydney on Sunday

NSW Health issued coronavirus alerts for a slew of shops at Bankstown Central Shopping Centre Sydney on Sunday 

Anyone who visited the Thai Hung Supermarket in Marrickville, Sydney on 31 December (3.45pm to 4.45pm) is a 'close contact' and must get tested immediately and isolate

Anyone who visited the Thai Hung Supermarket in Marrickville, Sydney on 31 December (3.45pm to 4.45pm) is a ‘close contact’ and must get tested immediately and isolate

Sydney Airport on December 17. Victorian health authorities said on Sunday that 96 air passengers arriving in Melbourne Airport on Saturday after borders shut are now isolating

Sydney Airport on December 17. Victorian health authorities said on Sunday that 96 air passengers arriving in Melbourne Airport on Saturday after borders shut are now isolating

Victoria has also come under fire for shutting the border with little notice to anyone who had recently been in the Greater Brisbane area on Friday night leaving passengers stranded at airports.

Details were published on Twitter 15 minutes before the border shut at midnight. 

Airlines were thrown into chaos as some flights continued on Saturday while others were cancelled. 

Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley said on Sunday that 96 travellers returning from Greater Brisbane, who had arrived at Melbourne airport on Saturday in a possible breach of Victoria’s travel ban, had gone into home quarantine.

Brisbane's Queen Street Mall on Saturday as the snap three-day lockdown cleared the streets

Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall on Saturday as the snap three-day lockdown cleared the streets

Brisbane’s snap three-day lockdown was sparked when a hotel quarantine cleaner caught the highly infectious UK strain on January 2 before visiting several shops.

Queensland’s immediate lockdown is an effort to avoid an outbreak of the mutation that has thrown Britain into its worst health emergency in living memory.

So far, 147 people have been found to be close contacts of the cleaner with 112 of them testing negative.

More than two million residents of Greater Brisbane will find out today whether their tough restrictions will be lifted. 

While no new covid cases have been found in the 24 hours to Sunday morning, neither Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk nor Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young are would say if lockdown would lift today.

Queensland now has a total of 20 active cases and Ms Palaszczuk said she would give an update on the lockdown situation at 9am on Monday.

Greater Brisbane (pictured on Saturday) is expected to remain a ghost town today with workers told to stay home unless they are essential

Greater Brisbane (pictured on Saturday) is expected to remain a ghost town today with workers told to stay home unless they are essential

Border queues on the NSW-Queensland checkpoint at Coolangatta on December 21. Border tensions have been raised by sudden rule changes after outbreaks in the eastern states

Border queues on the NSW-Queensland checkpoint at Coolangatta on December 21. Border tensions have been raised by sudden rule changes after outbreaks in the eastern states

The queue on New Year's Eve as motorists rushed home to Victoria from NSW ahead of restrictions. NSW has criticised 'other states' for not communicating before shutting borders

The queue on New Year’s Eve as motorists rushed home to Victoria from NSW ahead of restrictions. NSW has criticised ‘other states’ for not communicating before shutting borders

Victoria-NSW border check point at Wahgunyah on January 1

Victoria-NSW border check point at Wahgunyah on January 1

Ms Palaszczuk took to Twitter on Sunday explaining why she ordered the sudden lockdown.

‘For those who have had party or wedding plans interrupted I am sorry, but I would rather a temporary interruption than to be going through the devastation this virus is causing in other countries,’ she wrote.

‘One in 50 have tested positive in the UK. In Australia it’s one in 85,000. That’s what’s at stake for us.’

Brisbane’s CBD is expected to remain a ghost town on Monday as workers have been told to stay home unless they are deemed ‘essential’. 

In an opinion piece in the Sunday Mail, Ms Palaszczuk said Brisbanites could take heart from good early signs.

‘People are heeding the call to stay home and, when they’re not at home, they’re wearing masks.’   

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW COVID DEVELOPMENTS 

 * No new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Queensland as greater Brisbane entered the second day of a snap lockdown announced on Friday.

* Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said it was too early to say if there would be cases in the community after a Brisbane quarantine hotel cleaner was diagnosed with the UK virus strain.

* Queensland police have handed out more than 700 masks and issued 21 infringement notices since the lockdown began.

* The greater Brisbane region will remain in lockdown until 6pm on Monday, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to reveal the state’s next steps before then.

* NSW’s three new coronavirus cases, close contacts missed by contact tracers, were out and about in the community while infectious, Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says.

* Residents in the northern zone of Sydney’s northern beaches, the site of a major outbreak, have celebrated the first day of eased restrictions in the area.

* Three new cases were also recorded in NSW hotel quarantine, as concern about mutated strains of the virus reaching Australia grow.

* Premier Gladys Berejiklian asked other states to talk to NSW before closing their borders, as WA Premier Mark McGowan and Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley rebuffed her comments.

* Victoria recorded another day of no local or interstate-acquired COVID-19 cases, despite 96 people making a mad dash to the state from locked-down greater Brisbane or other hot spots.

* Six new cases were reported in Victoria’s hotel quarantine system, including five returned travellers and an international flight crew member.

* Victoria has now received more than 8000 applications for exemptions as its border remains closed to NSW, granting 882 thus far.

* A crew member of a bulk carrier ship has been caught and charged after allegedly swimming ashore at a WA port, with the premier labelling the incident ‘unusual’.

* Mr McGowan also hosed down the potential for an immediate reopening of the border to Queensland once the lockdown of greater Brisbane ends.

AUSTRALIAN CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS:

* There were 12 new virus cases recorded in Australia on Sunday: six each in NSW and Victoria. Only three were locally acquired – all in NSW.

* The national death toll is 909: Victoria 820, NSW 56, Tasmania 13, WA 9, Queensland 6, SA 4, ACT 3. 

(Two Queensland residents who died in NSW have been included in the official tolls of both states)

GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS:

* Cases: at least 89,637,000

* Deaths: at least 1,926,000

* Recovered: at least 49,732,411.

Data current as of 1815 AEDT January 10, taking in federal and state/territory government updates and Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre.

Source: AAP 

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