Border Rush
Border Rush

Qld opens border to parts of NSW

Queensland will throw open its borders to five New South Wales Shires from next weekend.

Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley, and Glenn Innes shires will be welcome in Queensland from 1am on October 1, with Queensland residents allowed to travel to those regions.

There were no new cases confirmed in Queensland on Tuesday morning.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said it was a "stark contrast" to what was happening in the rest of the world.

Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said she hoped it would make life easier for northern NSW residents.

"There have been no cases in those border areas for quite some time... there have been no cases north of Sydney for quite a while," Dr Young said.

"So it is safe to open up. The people that live on that border have a lot more to do with Queensland than they do with NSW.

"We know the difficulties (border closures) have caused those communities."

Residents from five northern NSW shires will be allowed to enter Queensland from next weekend. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland
Residents from five northern NSW shires will be allowed to enter Queensland from next weekend. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Steve Holland

 

It comes as a decision on lifting other restrictions in southeast Queensland could be made as soon as Thursday, as the state nears two weeks without any COVID-19 cases in the community.

Queenslanders are eagerly awaiting a decision on whether restrictions on gatherings and visiting aged care homes and hospitals will be lifted, potentially as soon as this weekend.

That will be dependent on no new COVID-19 cases recorded outside of quarantine in the next two days, according to Mr Miles.

"Thursday would be 14 days after the last case thought to be infectious in the community," Mr Miles said.

"So that's an appropriate review point."

As of Monday, it had been 11 days since a COVID-19 case was thought to be infectious while in the community.

It comes as Queensland Health released two new contact tracing alerts which relate to a recently identified case.

Anyone who was at Royal Pines Resort (Tees clubhouse restaurant and golf shop) at Benowa on August 24 between 7.45am and 3pm, and Gailes Golf Club at Wacol on August 27 between 9am and 3.30pm is being told to monitor their health and get tested if they develop any symptoms.

Restrictions on aged care homes could ease from this weekend if there are no new COVID-19 cases in the southeast Queensland community. Picture: NewsWire / John Gass
Restrictions on aged care homes could ease from this weekend if there are no new COVID-19 cases in the southeast Queensland community. Picture: NewsWire / John Gass

 

Since August 22, gatherings in southeast Queensland have been restricted to 10, and to 30 everywhere else in the state.

On that same Saturday, chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young put restrictions on visiting aged care homes and hospitals after a cluster emerged in Brisbane's west.

Previously, Dr Young has set a two week requirement for restrictions to be reviewed, and possibly eased.

Dr Jeannette Young is calling for more people to get tested to ensure there are no cases of COVID-19 going undetected within the community. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Dr Jeannette Young is calling for more people to get tested to ensure there are no cases of COVID-19 going undetected within the community. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

 

It comes as Queensland recorded one new case on Monday, a returned traveller in hotel quarantine. Both Dr Young and Mr Miles are calling for more people to get tested, after only 2708 samples were undertaken in that testing period.

"We want to find the first case in the cluster, not the 40th," Dr Young has previously said.

At least 49 people have been linked to a cluster, which first broke out at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, and spread to the Queensland Corrective Services Academy and Ipswich Hospital.

Dr Young last week said genomic testing had all-but linked the latest Queensland cluster to a much smaller one caused by two Logan women who returned from Melbourne in July.

"That's the most likely scenario and even more likely after doing more testing out there and not finding any other chains of transmission," Dr Young said.

"We didn't find the first case in this cluster, we found a subsequent case and that's why it's taken longer to get on top of it," Dr Young said.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles and CHO Dr Jeannette Young have hinted at potentially easing COVID-19 restrictions in southeast Queensland from this weekend. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard
Deputy Premier Steven Miles and CHO Dr Jeannette Young have hinted at potentially easing COVID-19 restrictions in southeast Queensland from this weekend. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

 

Since September 10, the only confirmed cases have been returned travellers or close contacts of known cases. All have been in quarantine.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said on Monday morning Dr Young would consider aged care restrictions this week.

If a decision is made to lift restrictions, visitors would be allowed to return to aged care, hospital and disability accommodation services.

Thursday could also spell the end of gatherings being restricted to 10 people. Last week, gathering restrictions in the Gold Coast and Darling Downs Hospital and Health Services were relaxed from 10 to 30 people, in line with the rest of the state.

Stricter restrictions are still in place for Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Logan, Moreton Bay, Redland, Scenic Rim and Somerset local government regions.

It comes as Queensland reopens its borders to the ACT as of Friday, September 25.

 

Originally published as Qld opens border to parts of NSW



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