Clarification from the NSW Minister for Health’s Office regarding Public Health (Covid-19) Interstate Order.

"The information should act as a useful outline, enabling people to match their circumstances with the relevant obligations and/or restrictions. I note that it is important to retain the reference to getting the latest information from the online sources, given that the concerns notice changes frequently.”

“The information should act as a useful outline, enabling people to match their circumstances with the relevant obligations and/or restrictions.  I note that it is important to retain the reference to getting the latest information from the online sources, given that the concerns notice changes frequently.”

The NSW obligations and restrictions in relation to people who have been to Queensland are imposed by a concerns notice, which may be issued by the Chief Health Officer, or their delegate, under the Public Health (COVID-19 Interstate Travellers) Order (No 3) 2021 in order to manage risks relating to COVID-19 that arise in different jurisdictions. Concerns notices are generally repealed or amended as the circumstances in other jurisdictions change.

The concerns notice outlines three different types of interstate zones, each with different levels of obligations and/or restrictions

1)      affected areas;

2)      areas of concern; and 

3)      places of high concern, which are divided into ‘close’ or ‘casual’ contact places.

The current concerns notice (https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Documents/interstate-concerns-notice.pdf) indicates that: 

1)      The State of Queensland is an ‘affected area’ from 12.01am on 16 June 2021. This means that if a person, aged 16 years of age or over, has been to any part of Queensland within the previous 14 days, they must complete a declaration form on entering NSW or 24 hours before entering. The declaration form is available here:https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/complete-nsw-entry-declaration-queensland

2)      11 local government areas (LGAs) in Queensland are ‘areas of concern’ on and from 12:01am on 21 July 2021. These LGAs include: Brisbane City; Moreton Bay Regional Council; City of Gold Coast; City of Ipswich; Lockyer Valley Regional Council; Logan City; Noosa Shire Council; Redland City; Scenic Rim Regional Council; Somerset Regional Council; and Sunshine Coast Regional Council.

a.       This means that any person who has been in one of these 11 LGAs after 12.01am on 21 July 2021 must, after arriving in NSW, immediately travel directly to the person’s place of residence or a suitable place to reside in. If already in NSW, the person must immediately return to their place of residence or other suitable place. The person must not leave their residence unless they have a reasonable excuse for a period of 14 days after they were last in an area of concern or while the notice is in force, whichever is sooner. I understand that NSW Health is also recommending that members of the person’s household not leave the residence unless they have a reasonable excuse; however, this is not currently a legal requirement. 

The reasonable excuses are found in Schedule 1 of the Public Health (COVID-19 Interstate Travellers) Order (No 3) 2021. The reasonable excuses include, but are not limited to:

o   Obtaining food or other goods or services for the personal needs of the person’s household or for other household purposes, including for vulnerable persons or pets.

o   For the purposes of work if the person cannot work from the person’s place of residence.

o   For the purpose of attending school, university or another educational institution if the person attending the school, university or institution cannot learn from the person’s place of residence.

o   Obtaining medical care or supplies or health supplies or fulfilling carer’s responsibilities, including obtaining a COVID-19 vaccination.

b.       These obligations do not apply to a person who enters, or has entered, NSW for immediate travel by the most direct practicable route to a place outside of NSW.

3)      There are a number of places of high concern for each relevant state under the headings ‘Places of High Concern – Close Contact Places’ and ‘Places of High Concern – Casual Contact Places’. The date and time of exposure are also listed. 

  The following restrictions apply to people who have been to a close contact place at the listed date and time:

o   A person who is not a NSW resident cannot enter NSW.

o   A person in NSW who has been to a close contact place must immediately travel to their residence and while travelling comply with the Interstate Traveller Guidelines. They must self-isolate at their residence for the period remaining of 14 days after being at the relevant place. While doing so, they must comply with the Self-isolation Guidelines

The following restrictions apply to people who have been to a casual contact place at the listed date and time:

o   A person, who is not a NSW resident, must not enter NSW unless the person has been tested for COVID-19 after they were at the relevant place, and have received a negative test result. 

o   A person in NSW who has been to a casual contact place, must immediately travel to their residence and while travelling comply with the Interstate Traveller Guidelines. They must self-isolate at their residence for the period remaining of 14 days after being at the relevant place. While doing so, they must comply with the Self-isolation Guidelines. However, a person can leave self-isolation if they have been tested for COVID-19 after they were at the relevant place and have received a negative result.

Individuals will need to check the concerns notice and follow the rules that apply to the area of Queensland that they have visited.

As the concerns notice frequently changes, it is important to ensure that individuals are viewing the most up to date information, which is available here: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/public-health-orders.aspx#interstate

Naturally, individuals will need to comply with the Queensland restrictions, where relevant to them. Also note the information at the ‘Travelling to Queensland’ webpage: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/public-health-directions/travelling-to-queensland

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