Coronavirus crisis: Katter wants North Queensland quarantined from the rest of the state

Robbie Katter wants policed road closures and strict fever testing at airports arrival gates as part of an urgent plan to quarantine North, north-west and south-west Queensland.
Robbie Katter wants policed road closures and strict fever testing at airports arrival gates as part of an urgent plan to quarantine North, north-west and south-west Queensland.

The Katter Australian Party wants policed road closures and strict fever testing at airports arrival gates as part of an urgent plan to quarantine North, north-west and south-west Queensland from the rest of the state.

Following a decision Monday by the Queensland Cabinet to close down Queensland borders to inter-state travel, KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said failing to segregate regional, rural and remote Queensland from the south-east would lead to catastrophe, with 319 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the vast majority of which are confined to the south-east.

Mr Katter said only a handful of cases have been confirmed in the North, and the only way to prevent a wide-spread outbreak is intra-state quarantine though freight and essential travel (for medical or vital work-related reasons) would be excluded.

"We need the North and the other regions largely unaffected by COVID-19 quarantined now," Mr Katter said.

"It's not something we call for lightly, this is about giving us all a fighting chance."

Mr Katter said it might not stop COVID-19 entering the region but we had the advantage of geographic isolation.

"An asymmetric hit of this virus across Queensland gives us a chance to distribute critical care resources, such as mechanical ventilators," he said.

"Once the wave of the virus has gone through the south-east and medical demands down there have lessened, we can gradually re-open access to the 'exclusion zone' so that we can utilise available resources from other communities."

Mr Katter said, where necessary, the Australian Defence Force ought to be engaged to monitor road closures to ensure complete compliance.

The KAP has proposed a border cut off point from Marlborough in the east to Boulia in the west.