Despite NSW still contact-tracing one of the state’s new mystery coronavirus cases, Queensland has kept hopes alive that it will reopen their border on November 1.
There were fears that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk would squash existing plans to allow NSW residents to travel north within weeks after a flare-up of cases in Sydney.
Last Friday, Ms Palaszczuk said she would be willing to open her state’s border to NSW on November 1, providing NSW achieved 28 consecutive days of no community transmission.
But earlier this week, three mystery cases were recorded which abruptly ended the state’s 12-day streak of no locally acquired cases, throwing the November border opening into limbo.
Speaking to media on Friday, Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said NSW
had made “extremely good” progress in tracing the latest clusters, finding the links for seven out of eight new local cases.
“NSW has extremely good contact tracing capability,” Dr Young said.
“But we need to wait a bit longer [to decide] whether or not we need to change the plan to open to NSW. At the moment, it’s planned for November 1.”
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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said NSW had 48 hours to find the source of their mystery cases. Picture: Evan MorganSource:News Corp Australia
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she didn’t understand the new goalpost set by Queensland to reopen the border. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Christian GillesSource:News Corp Australia
Ms Young justified the 48-hour deadline that had been issued to NSW to trace the new cases, saying she will continue to monitor the neighbouring state before making any final border decision.
“We use the 28 days to determine if it’s safe to open to another state,” she explained.
“We will continue to monitor … although they are finding the contacts … they are getting continuing cases. So we will have to watch and see what happens.”
Today, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced her state had recorded 10 new cases to 8pm on Thursday, five being returned travellers in hotel quarantine and five locally acquired.
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles said on Wednesday that if NSW could not find the source of the infections by Friday morning, the 28 days clock could reopen would be reset.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the “goalpost” set by Queensland was simply causing Australians to suffer.
NSW health Minister Brad Hazzard agreed, telling 2GB host Ben Fordham that the 48-hour deadline was “complete rubbish” and that the new target was “purely political”.
“I think putting 48 hours … where’s the scientific evidence? Where is the basis for that? That’s just complete rubbish,” Mr Hazzard told 2GB.
“I think the decision by Premier (Annastacia) Palaszczuk is purely political. I think it’s cruel. It’s cruel to the families that need to be able to cross over for just so many different reasons.
“Compassion and care and caution can all be applied in a sensible way, and not with a blanket rule from the top that the answer’s no, and you’ve got to do this within 48 hours or the deal’s off.
“I mean, it’s just ridiculous actually.”
More to come.
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