DOZENS of post codes in northern New South Wales will be added to Queensland’s ‘border bubble’ as the Sunshine State records no new cases of COVID-19.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed residents of the Byron Shire, Ballina, Lismore, the Richmond Valley and Glen Innes council areas will be added to the bubble from 1am on October 1.
The northern border bubble line will also be removed allowing freer travel to those areas for anyone in Queensland.
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“Residents will be able to apply for a border pass and then they will be able to freely travel around Queensland,” the Premier said.
“Queenslanders will also be able to travel there as well.
“I think this is a great effort to consider how we can make our border zones more effective but also to looking at these areas have a lot in common with Queensland.
“They usually do a lot of their business in Queensland so we believe that this is the right measure to take and we have also been in contact with the New South Wales authorities to advise them of this today as well.”
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) September 21, 2020
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said the COVID situation on the NSW north coast was looking promising.
“We’ve not seen any cases along those border areas for quite some time and we have also not seen cases north of Sydney for quite a while. So it’s quite safe to open up those areas,” Dr Young said.
“We know that people who live along that border actually have a lot more to do with Queensland than they do with New South Wales and we know the difficulties it’s caused those communities.”
Dr Young said there were still cases of concern in NSW, so the rest of the state will still remain a declared hot spot.
“They (NSW) haven’t had any community transmission cases since the 8th of September,” Dr Young said.
“We’re still looking at the most recent case with the taxi driver just to see what happens there.
“We know from NSW where he acquired it but we just need to find out whether, while he was in the community, spread [the virus].
“We’re not 28 days free yet so we’ll have to just wait.”
Queensland is preparing to welcome ACT travellers back on Friday but only to Canberrans who arrive by plan. Anyone coming from from NSW via the ACT will have to wait 14 days before being allowed to fly.
The Sunshine State has just 16 active cases after recording no new infections in the last 24 hours.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said things were looking promising for the Greater Brisbane area to have restrictions on gatherings, aged care homes and hospitals lifted in the coming days.
“If we have two further days of no community transmission that will bring us to 14 days since that last case was thought to be infectious in the community,” the Deputy Premier said.
“This is the point at which the Chief Health Officer will be able to consider those restrictions that still apply throughout the Brisbane, Metropolitan and west Moreton Hospital and Health Service districts.
“This is all as a result of the fantastic work of Queenslanders as well as the very low number of cases in northern New South Wales meaning that we can safely make these adjustments.”
Premier Palaszczuk also confirmed the state was working with businesses and the community to consider what other restrictions could be eased across Queensland at the end of the month but she refused to comment on exactly what that might include.