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Outsiders Caught Sneaking Into QLD As Locals Told To Stay Home For School Holidays

NSW residents are sneaking into QLD on foot only to be turned away by police after the state closed its borders, while Queenslanders are being urged to stay home these school holidays to help limit the infection spread.

Backpackers who tried to cross into QLD on public transport have been pulled off buses and sent packing as police warn the crackdown will continue.

One driver took to the footpath to avoid the barriers that cut the state off from interstate travellers.

"It is extraordinarily disappointing," Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said.

Traffic on the Pacific Highway in NSW near the QLD border, Thu, Mar 26. The border closed at midnight Wed as authorities try to stop the spread of COVID-19. Image: AAP/Jason O'Brien

"We have had complaints about backpackers on buses blatantly disregarding what's been asked of them and enforcement action will be taken.

"We are doing this for our safety and the safety of our community. I just ask that we all work together."

More than 4000 vehicles have been stopped and at least 75 people have been turned back at the Queensland-NSW border since new restrictions came into effect.

Police have ramped up security, stopping thousands of motorists as they try to cross the state line.

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Queenslanders are still allowed to return home and freight traffic is exempt, but anyone else needs a government permit to prove cross-border movement is necessary.

Meanwhile, five men who allegedly used a dinghy to sneak to a remote North QLD island have been charged with non-essential travel by police.

One teenager, 19, and two men aged 30 and 46 allegedly used a dinghy to motor from Townsville to Palm Island, police said on Saturday.

They were charged with failing to comply with an emergency requirement under the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act and the state's COVID-19 health regulations.

Two of the men have also been charged with possessing drugs. All five were denied bail and are due to appear in the Townsville Magistrates Court on Sunday.

The state border sign at Tomewin, on the border of NSW and QLD, Thu, Mar 26. Image AAP/Jason O'Brien

The advice for Queenslanders is clear -- this is not a time for travel, with Police Commissioner Carroll calling the next fortnight a school "break" and not a "holiday".

The coronavirus pandemic has closed many popular gathering spots including national parks and locals are only allowed to go to the beach for a swim and exercise.

"Do not sunbake or congregate," Carroll said on Friday.  "Limit your movement across Queensland, treat it as a break and not a holiday."

There are 873 confirmed cases of the virus in the state, but the Premier says the worst is still to come.

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Annastacia Palaszczuk says QLDers have six months of necessary pain ahead of them if the state wants to avoid the confronting mass deaths that have occurred overseas.

The community has also been urged to ensure all health workers are not being the targets of abuse. Health Minister Steven Miles expressed disgust at reports of QLD Health workers being "vilified, threatened and treated abhorrently" when out in public in their uniforms.

"They are heroes. They are are people who go to work every day to take care of us. So thank them, don't yell at them," he said.