Australia

ACT/NSW lockout delays to be worse than March closure: police

Gold Coast police fear traffic delays will be worse this weekend than in late March when the interstate border was first shut.

From 1am on Saturday, NSW and the ACT will be considered COVID-19 hot spots, along with Victoria, meaning anyone from these areas will be turned around, except freight carriers and border residents.

Traffic delays at the Coolangatta checkpoint on March 26 - when the interstate borders were first locked down.

Traffic delays at the Coolangatta checkpoint on March 26 - when the interstate borders were first locked down.Credit:Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Any Queensland residents will be allowed back into their home state but forced to pay for two weeks of mandatory hotel quarantine.

Gold Coast District Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said on delays on the M1 at the Gold Coast border checkpoint exceeded 50 minutes on Thursday and were set to increase in coming days.

"I’d anticipate it [traffic delay] is probably going to be a little bit worse [than when the borders were first closed on March 26] because we’ve seen such a large area declared as a hot spot," he said.

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"The entirety of Victoria, NSW and the ACT have all been declared and that is a lot of people.

"We have to deal with people individually and each vehicle one by one ... we have to ensure the proper scrutiny of each vehicle and the occupants.

"We are already seeing Queensland residents return. We’re seeing large numbers of Queenslander going into self-funded quarantine and that is expected to continue in the coming days."

Chief Superintendent Wheeler said the system for people to apply for new border passes valid into Saturday was expected to be up and running on Friday afternoon.

"We acknowledge it is going to be tight timeframes," he said.

"Our cross-border residents on both sides, we understand they need to work, go to medical appointments and things of that nature, so there will be provisions for those people.

"To prove you are a cross-border resident there will be some identification required and that’s still being worked through.

"What we want to establish is where you live and what your address is. It could be as simple as having your driver’s licence with you and that information is uploaded into the system."

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