VIRUS: Authorities tight-lipped as Vic flight touches down
The first flight from Melbourne touched down in Townsville yesterday afternoon despite the state keeping the border closed to Victoria, but authorities remained tight-lipped about the number of people on board.
Jetstar flight JQ916, with a 186-seat capacity, arrived about 5.35pm.
Passengers disembarked through the international terminal before going into quarantine.
Several police officers waited outside of the quiet airport near the drop-off and pick-up zone for the passengers.
"Anyone who has travelled from a declared hot spot and is not exempt from the direction must go into quarantine at a location which is secured by QPS," a police spokesman said. "The QPS arranges transportation to that location."
A Jetstar spokesman would not confirm how many people were on the flight and said its customers were being provided with kits containing a mask and sanitising wipes.
Four direct flights from Melbourne were originally scheduled for each week, but the airline reduced that number to two a week for the rest of July.
Victoria is battling another COVID-19 outbreak with 74 new cases confirmed yesterday and 108 new infections the day before, the second highest in the state since the pandemic began.
To stem new infections, the Victorian Government increased the number of postcodes in lockdown to 12, with nine public housing blocks in Melbourne's North now completely off limits with residents forced to remain indoors for at least five days.
Sources previously told the Townsville Bulletin they believed the Sunday flight may only carry a handful of passengers, while sounding the alarm about the potential health risks and safety fears.
A Queensland Health spokesman did not confirm which hotels in Townsville people were required to quarantine in.
"Any person (whether a Queensland resident or non-Queensland resident) who has been in any local government area within Victoria in the last 14 days should not come to Queensland," he said.
"If they do, they must undergo mandatory quarantine in a government-arranged hotel at their own expense for a minimum of 14 days, or turn back."
These visitors will have to apply to enter the state and must hold a Queensland Border Declaration Pass.
The State Government announced last week the borders would reopen from July 10 to travellers from all states and territories, while remaining firmly closed to Victoria.
As of Sunday, the number of people subject to an active self-quarantine notice in the Townsville region was 129.
Australia has recorded a total 8253 cases of COVID-19, with 3230 in New South Wales, 2543 in Victoria, 1065 in Queensland, 443 in South Australia, 607 in Western Australia, 228 in Tasmania, 108 in the Australian Capital Territory and 29 in the Northern Territory.
Australia's coronavirus death toll is 104.
Originally published as VIRUS FEARS: Authorities tight-lipped as Vic flight touches down