As you would be aware, the Premier has today announced that the QLD border will be closed as of 1am Saturday to travellers from all of NSW and the ACT. Both NSW and the ACT have been declared Hotspots by the Qld Government. QRC is still waiting to see the details of the Qld Health directive coming from the Premiers announcement this morning and is in discussions with DNRME and the Qld Government in regard to accessing essential resource industry workers from interstate.
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From midday today, two Local Government Areas in New South Wales are declared COVID-19 hotspots. Queensland’s border restrictions mean that anyone who has been in a COVID-19 hotspot within the last 14 days will no longer be able to quarantine in Queensland and will be turned away at the border.
Discussed: awaiting declaration of “hot-spots” potentially in NSW and VIC; current exemption permits cancelled for workers in “hot-spots”; update on essential worker applications; police stopping non-FIFO/DIDO workers and advice; Qantas regional schedule shows regional cuts and fairly reliable for next few weeks; consider rescheduling shutdowns if possible, without jeopardising safety; deployment of re-purposed tablets and computers to disadvantaged students through QMEA; health plan application update and testing ratios; action needed regarding Regional Community Infrastructure Fund; guidance around people at home showing symptoms and continuing work; DNRME request careful thought around critical resource sector employee at your company; QLD-SA border gates and codes for Cooper Basin; addendums/additions allowed on bulk applications; Qantas potentially to operate “essential network”; Mayors indicated empty hotels could assist with isolating workforce, noting the need for isolation from community
Discussed: smooth start to border restrictions; DNRME staff not working over Easter; issues around biosecurity officer plan approval and police checks for intrastate travel; best practice to have health plan regardless of FIFO status; travel restrictions to/from "hot-spots"; opportunity to provide tablets/laptops to disadvantaged students in member communities through QMEA; Qantas schedule not cut as dramatic as expected; QLD Health to follow close-contact tracing for confirmed cases; return to work procedures; temperature testing at airports; companies exceeding CHO advice to slow spread; DNRME concern about FIFO reliance from NSW
Discussed: Rapid test kits not suitable for early detection; keeping shifts consistent where possible to reduce impact of positive diagnosis; companies must submit health plans to QLD Health; company responsibility to ensure social distancing; new rules around FIFO soon to be implemented; members providing social distancing on transport and on charter flights; REX reinstated flights; bulk application process for securing exemptions
The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy have advised that they have commenced the process of identifying for the Chief Health Officer’s approval, those individuals who meet the criteria to be regarded as critical resource sector workers.
Queensland Health have today provided the following information regarding laboratories testing COVID-19 samples. Testing will be performed by Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology at their Bowen Hills laboratory. Once the specimen has reached the laboratory, the turnaround time (TAT) will be 24-72 hours. As the test numbers increase this TAT is likely to increase. The results will be released as soon as available and all positives will be notified to the referring doctor.
Discussed: LDMG letter requesting specific requiremetns; letters sent to mayors around efforts; reminder to send health plans to CQ PHU; WA border closures likely; MCA national protocols; members should make contingency plans regarding border closures; Qantas significant cuts to civillian flights; temperature check all staff before flights; snap inspections of meal areas by police; mayors briefed by members
With imminent further curtailment of domestic intrastate and interstate flights likely in the next 48 hours, resource companies are strongly advised to put in place plans to use charter flights for the FIFO component of their workforce.
Updated Health Directive to exclude resource sector mess facilities from being required to close.