Queensland’s decision to establish a border zone with parts of northern NSW has hit a major hurdle just hours before the border wall went up to the rest of the state.
NSW Health issued an alert late last night confirming positive fragments of coronavirus had been detected in Byron Bay, which is an area included in the new border zone.
Those living in border communities are allowed to cross the border into Queensland for essential reasons only, however will still need to do so with a border zone travel “X” pass.
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However there are now serious concerns about the future of the so-called “border bubble” following the discovery of the COVID-19 fragments just over the border.
“NSW Health’s ongoing sewage surveillance program has detected fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 at the sewage treatment plant at Bryon Bay,” NSW Health said.
“The sewage treatment plant serves about 19,000 people in Byron Bay, Wategos, Suffolk Park, Sunrise, and Broken Head.”
Authorities said there are no known cases in this area, which is of “great concern”.
Everyone in the area is now being told to be alert for symptoms, and if they appear, to immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.
“If symptoms appear again, please be tested and isolate again,” NSW Health warned.
The local government areas in the Qld/NSW border zone include Ballina, Bourke, Brewarrina, Broken Hill, Byron, Clarence Valley, Glen Innes Severn, Gwydir.
Inverell, Kyogle, Lismore, Moree Plains, Richmond Valley, Tenterfield, Tweed, Unincorporated Far West and Walgett have also been included.
Residents in those areas are now only allowed to come into Queensland for limited reasons including healthcare, work, education, essential shopping and caring for vulnerable people.
Queensland Health is expected to address the development at a press conference this morning.