News State NSW News Tensions simmer between NSW, Queensland over border policy

Tensions simmer between NSW, Queensland over border policy

Queensland's border with NSW remains a sticking point. Photo: AAP
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NSW has recorded just one new locally acquired case of COVID-19, as the state continues to pressure the Queensland government to relax its border restrictions.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been at loggerheads with counterpart Annastacia Palaszczuk over the issue for months.

The tension comes as Queensland marks another day with no new coronavirus cases.

It has been nine days since the Sunshine State has recorded a community transmission of COVID-19, while its number of active infections has fallen to 22.

The result comes as it prepares to welcome ACT travellers next week and double its intake of international arrivals by the end of October.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk struck a deal with ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr to allow travellers from the nation’s capital to freely enter Queensland from 1am on September 25, provided they haven’t visited a COVID-19 hotspot.

Given the entire state of NSW remains a declared COVID-19 hotspot, people living in the ACT must fly in rather than travel by road to avoid entering via a hotspot.

Queensland will also lift its quota on international arrivals from 500 to 1000 by October 24, with the government calling for expressions of interest from Brisbane and Cairns hotels to take returnees.

The border is only open to plane passengers and anyone coming from NSW via Canberra will have to wait 14 days before entering, chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young says.

But with a sustained low daily case rate, the NSW has accused its northern neighbour of acting illogically.

Ms Berejiklian said on Thursday border talks with Ms Palaszczuk had ceased again but on Friday Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles denied any communication breakdown.

He said Queensland’s chief health officer speaks with her NSW counterpart almost every day and he speaks with his counterpart most days too.

Just three new cases – two returned travellers and a health worker from Concord Hospital – were announced on Saturday, diagnosed from 15,239 tests.

The worker cared for patients with COVID-19 and may have worked while infectious.

Health authorities are working to identify the source of the infection and trace potential further contact.

“While the number of locally acquired cases recorded in the last 24 hours is low, the virus is likely still circulating among people in the community, with mild symptoms,” Dr Jeremy McAnulty told reporters.

“We’re urging again anyone who feels unwell, even with the mildest of symptoms … to come forward and get tested.”

“This is even more important with the upcoming school holidays, when people will travel across the state.”

Meanwhile a house party in Bondi has proved costly for the 28 attendees, with police handing each a $1000 fine.

Currently, limits in NSW prohibit more than 20 people at private gatherings.

It comes as NSW prepares to accept an additional 500 returned travellers each week into its hotel quarantine system.

The increase will start from September 27 and take the state’s intake to about 3000 a week.

-with AAP