Border decision put off as NSW COVID cluster grows
A decision on whether Queensland will reopen to NSW on November 1 will be made in the last week of the campaign, with a 48-hour deadline for contact tracers mysteriously disappearing.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles last week set a ticking clock for NSW authorities to get on top of their latest outbreak.
But as the situation in NSW escalates, the government now says Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young will make a decision a week before the slated border opening on all the latest information.
The apparent depoliticisation of the border issue came as Prime Minister Scott Morrison insisted he'd "never said" Queensland should open its borders, just that decisions should be transparent.
NSW yesterday recorded more COVID cases than Victoria, adding another 11 local cases to a total of 40 active cases as authorities worried they were "on the verge" of a Crossroads Hotel-style cluster.
Victoria had just seven new cases, but worryingly three of them were in previously COVID-free Shepparton.
A Queensland Health statement said border restrictions would be reviewed at the end of the month,
"In doing so, we consider a range a factors when we lift or establish restrictions, including whether there have been any unlinked cases in the previous 28 days," the statement said.
Other factors include total cases, testing rates, the location of infections, the general movement of people and wastewater testing.
Mr Miles last week said Queensland would "consider" pushing back the border reopening date if NSW authorities could not link cases to their source within two days.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the time frame was news to her and claimed Queensland's strict reopening criteria - 28 days without community transmission - was unrealistic.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was more muted in his border comments while on the hustings with Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington in Townsville.
He said the federal government had "never said" Queensland should take their border down.
"We've never actually said that we've just said that if you go to have one that has to be clear why it's there and, and you've got to run it in a way that's fair," he said.
"(Opening the border is) a decision that's going to have to be made by the Queensland Government based on the medical advice, and the medical advice has to be transparent and, and it should be very clear and there shouldn't be double standards in terms of how these things are put in place.
"I understand that Queenslanders would like the fact that there's a buffer and there's a protection when it comes to this virus, I get that but at some time, when it's safe to do so, you have to be able to lift (the border).
"You've got to acknowledge the cost that (border closure) imposes, and the cost particularly to the tourism and hospitality industry here in Queensland."
Originally published as Border decision put off as NSW COVID cluster grows