Queensland throws open borders to parts of NSW

 

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

Ms Palaszczuk said the shires of Byron, Ballina, the City of Lismore, Richmond Valley, which includes Casino and Evans Head, and Glen Innes would be added to the border zone from 1am on October 1.

"Residents will be able to apply for a border pass and then they'll be able to freely travel around Queensland and Queenslanders will also be able to travel there as well," she said.

Queenslanders will still need a border pass to return to Queensland and declare they have not visited a hotspot, but they will not need to quarantine.

NSW residents in those council areas will also be allowed to travel anywhere in Queensland under the changes with going into quarantine.

They will also need to fill out a border declaration pass.

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

It means there are 16 active cases in the Sunshine State.

There have also been more than 4000 tests conducted in the previous testing period.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that from 1am on October 1, there would be new post codes added to the border zone with NSW.

It has been 12 days since there was a known case of COVID in the community.

There are roughly 152,000 people who live in those post codes that will be added to the border zone.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said Queensland would safety shift the border zone to allow about 152,000 people who live in northern NSW to travel to the state "relatively freely".

The changes will come into effect at 1am October.

Mr Miles said the small number of cases in northern NSW made it safe to add these new post codes to the border zone.

 

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said there had not been any cases in those border areas for quite some time.

She acknowledged that some of those people who live in those post codes have a lot more to do with Queensland than they do with their home state of NSW.

Dr Young said no cases of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, had been reported north of Sydney "for quite awhile", making it safe to reopen the border for people living in northern NSW.

NSW has not had any new community transmission cases since September 8.

In terms of the rest of NSW, Dr Young said a decision on whether the border would reopen would be made at the end of the month.

She said Queensland's COVIDsafe plans had worked exceptionally well "far better than I thought they would".

"We've worked out more about the virus and Queenslanders have learnt how to live safely with it," she said.

Ms Palaszczuk confirmed there could be more restrictions wound back at the end of the month.

Mr Miles said if Queensland has two further two days of no community transmission, Dr Young will consider easing restrictions in the Greater Brisbane region.

"That's in stark contrast to what is happening in the rest of the world," he said.

Dr Young confirmed that restrictions in Brisbane and Ipswich could be lifted from Friday if there are no new cases of community transmission.

Those restrictions include a ten person cap on gatherings at homes.

The new cap for gatherings would likely be increased to 30, in line with the rest of the state.

Queenslanders were on Monday 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 Deputy Premier Steven 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."

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.

 

Originally published as LIVE: Case update as restriction changes on the cards



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