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Queensland records one COVID-19 case as Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre staff forced into 'bubble'

Queensland recorded just one new COVID-19 case in the past 24 hours, as Annastacia Palaszczuk refuses to reopen the state’s borders. 

The one new case of COVID-19 in Queensland is a close contact of a known case. 

The state is keeping a tight-grip on any potential COVID-19 outbreaks, with prison officers forced to only go to work and home or face a hefty fine.  

Prison officers risk being slapped with a $13,345 if they break their ‘COVID-19 jail bubble’ following unrest at Brisbane’s Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre. 

Two staff members tested positive to COVID-19 forcing the centre and other jails in Queensland to be locked down. 

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk refuses to reopen the state's borders despite recording one COVID-19 case overnight (pictured at the Gabba in Brisbane)

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk refuses to reopen the state’s borders despite recording one COVID-19 case overnight (pictured at the Gabba in Brisbane)

Two staff members tested positive to COVID-19 at Brisbane's Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre (pictured) forcing the it and other jails in Queensland to be locked down

Two staff members tested positive to COVID-19 at Brisbane’s Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre (pictured) forcing the it and other jails in Queensland to be locked down 

An instruction letter obtained by The Courier Mail informs the prison guards are required to go directly from home to work and back without making any pit stops to ensure no one contracts COVID-19.

‘You are permitted to leave your stated place of quarantine for the purpose of undertaking work at the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre,’ the instruction letter read. 

‘Travel to the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre must be the most direct route and without stopping.’

The letter also states that officers who received a negative COVID-19 result must wear PPE at all times and ‘remain in quarantine at home at all other times’. 

A letter sent to Arthur Gorrie (pictured)  prison guards prison guards informs them that they are only allowed to go directly from home to work and back without making any pit stops

A letter sent to Arthur Gorrie (pictured)  prison guards prison guards informs them that they are only allowed to go directly from home to work and back without making any pit stops

Nurses are seen doing COVID-19 testing at a drive-thru fever clinic in Ipswich on August 24, 2020

Nurses are seen doing COVID-19 testing at a drive-thru fever clinic in Ipswich on August 24, 2020

Officers vented their frustration at the orders, with the Together Union seeking clarifications on what can or can’t be done.  

‘Our priority is making sure we do not see the spread of COVID-19,’ Together Union industrial services director Michael Thomas said.

‘We have concerns about how this modified quarantine order can be practically applied.

‘We are seeking advice from the chief health officer for clarification as to how it will be applied.’ 

Queensland Health explained that following the positive cases, it was in the best interest of prisoners and other Queenslanders for the guards to isolate. 

They also said that the directives were not for all staff, just a handful considered to be close contacts.  

There are currently 26 active cases of COVID-19 in Queensland.  

Passengers queuing to check in for flights to Queensland at Sydney Domestic Airport in July

Passengers queuing to check in for flights to Queensland at Sydney Domestic Airport in July

WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured) has flat-out refused to open his borders to any jurisdiction

WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured) has flat-out refused to open his borders to any jurisdiction

Australian state border restrictions

Victoria: Completely open, but other states are banning residents from going there

NSW: Border with Victoria is closed but others are open without restriction

Queensland: Open to everywhere but Victoria, NSW, and the ACT

Northern Territory: Open to everywhere but Victoria and Sydney, which must do hotel quarantine

South Australia: Closed to Victoria, NSW arrivals must self-isolate, rest are open

Tasmania: Closed to Victoria, everywhere else must do hotel quarantine

Western Australia: Closed to everywhere without an exemption 

Seven out of eight states and territories want domestic borders down by December as part of a new ‘road map’ to recovery from coronavirus restrictions.

But Western Australia, which has had no community transmission for 146 days, has refused to take part.

Queensland has also state it won’t reopen its borders, with Premier Palaszczuk saying she refuses to have her hand forced by the federal government. 

‘It is relentless. It is intimidating. But I will not be intimidated,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.

‘Although we are seeing some encouraging signs of those numbers reducing, there are still too many cases, I believe, for us to be able to safely open the border between Queensland, NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

‘I think it is a bit disingenuous for this heightened criticism that is coming from a whole lot of levels when our fundamental concern is to look after Queenslanders and to make sure they are safe during this time.

‘There is a high risk when there is an outbreak of it going into our aged-care homes.

‘I do not want to see what has happened in our aged-care sector in NSW and in Victoria happen here in Queensland – that would be a nightmare.’

The prime minister and seven leaders agreed on the plan to reunite the country at a national cabinet meeting on Friday.

Queensland has also state it won't reopen its borders, with Premier Palaszczuk refusing to be intimidated by the federal government

Queensland has also state it won’t reopen its borders, with Premier Palaszczuk refusing to be intimidated by the federal government

Scott Morrison (pictured) said he felt like Australia could break apart due to border closures

Scott Morrison (pictured) said he felt like Australia could break apart due to border closures

The idea is to use a ‘hotspot’ model where state borders are open to everywhere except certain designated areas which have high rates of community transmission.

Mr Morrison wants New Zealand to be included in the hotspot model before Christmas, allowing for international travel for the first time since March.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she wants travel with New Zealand ‘as soon as possible’.

Mr Morrison said he wants a ‘sustainable set of arrangements where Australians could move around, using a hot spot model by Christmas.’ 

The prime minster believes that increasing movement between states is essential to save the nation’s dying tourism industry, which employs one million workers and is set to lose a staggering $54.6billion this year due to lockdowns and border restrictions.

Greater freedom will also help farmers, residents in border towns, and hundreds of thousands of Aussie families who are trapped apart in different states.

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