News Coronavirus NSW uncovers crucial ‘missing link’ in community virus transmission

NSW uncovers crucial ‘missing link’ in community virus transmission

queensland border nsw
Queensland's border closure with Sydney will be reviewed again at the end of November. PhotO; Getty
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NSW is inching closer to meeting the stringent coronavirus benchmarks Queensland has demanded before it will open its border to millions of Sydneysiders.

NSW Health said on Monday it had linked 13 cases in the Liverpool COVID outbreak with a cluster in Moss Vale.

“Therefore, that cluster is no longer unlinked,” chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said.

“The last unlinked case of COVID-19 in NSW was a person who reported illness on the 24th of October and was associated with the Hoxton Park cluster.”

The Queensland government requires 28 days without unlinked transmission of the virus before it will reopen its border to Sydney residents.

NSW residents from outside of the 32 local government areas that make up greater Sydney have been able to travel to Queensland since November 3.

All Victorians and residents of greater Adelaide also remain banned from quarantine-free travel to the Sunshine State. Victoria posted its 24th day without community transmission of the virus on Monday.

South Australia confirmed one more case in the Parafield outbreak that sparked a short-lived harsh lockdown last week.

Dr Young will make any decisions about further border openings at the end of November.

Queensland has had one of Australia’s toughest border regimes throughout the pandemic.

On Monday, NSW became the only state in Australia with no border restrictions, removing its Victorian border checkpoints after four months and allowing flights between Sydney and Melbourne to resume.

In bad news for Sydney residents, however, Queensland also requires the epidemiolocal link between cases to be made within 48 hours of an infection being confirmed. NSW’s Moss Vale link took weeks to be confirmed.

Queensland’s border rules have been a sore point with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. On Monday, she would not say if she expected her Queensland counterpart, Annastacia Palaszczuk, to move quickly.

“Unfortunately some state premiers are making up the advice as we go,” she said.

“There is absolutely nowhere I have read … that you must identify a source of a case within 48 hours.

“Again I just ask other premiers to consider some compassion because I know when I’m visiting communities and people come up to me and burst into tears when they think about the fact that they can’t visit their relatives.”

But federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese praised Ms Palaszczuk’s tough border stance.

“I reckon Annastacia Palaszczuk’s doing a great job,” he told Sky News on Monday.

“One of the things that I won’t do, and you’ve seen Labor oppositions not do, is make partisan political comments.

“No one wants to see restrictions in place but restrictions have made Queenslanders safe.

“I want to be able to travel and I want Australians to travel. I know Annastacia Palaszczuk does too.”

At present, visitors to Queensland from designated hotspots must go into mandatory 14-day quarantine at their own expense upon arrival in the state.

Queensland parents Leah and Morgan Collins, whose three-year-old son Thomas died on Saturday in a Melbourne hospital where he was being treated are among those affected by the hard border.

They have applied for a compassionate exemption to return to their home state to grieve their son but have heard nothing from Queensland Health.

The department is yet to respond to AAP’s queries about the case.

State opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates called for the government to release its reasons for denying the Collins an exemption.

She said there were no concerns about releasing the advice because the family had already gone public about the case.

“If the information is given that says this is why that decision was made people in Queensland will accept that,” Ms Bates said.

“It’s the uncertainty of not knowing and we don’t want to see more families going through grief, just like young Thomas’ family.”

-with AAP