Coronavirus: Queensland ends divisive border ban on Sydney

Louise Cheer
·News Editor
·3-min read

Sydneysiders will be allowed into Queensland from December 1.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the much-anticipated announcement on Tuesday morning as the state hit its 70th day without a locally acquired Covid-19 case, saying chief health officer Jeannette Young was “satisfied” with NSW’s coronavirus numbers.

Previously Ms Palaszczuk opened Queensland only to regional NSW on November 3, blacklisting millions of Sydneysiders.

But on Tuesday she lifted the ban, saying: “So can I say to New South Wales, we welcome you to Queensland from December 1.

Pictured is Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk who announced Sydneysiders will be allowed into her state.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced Sydneysiders will be let into Queensland. Source: AAP

“We know how tough this has been on families. This is a great day. It's exciting news and it has met the requirements that Dr Young has set.

“In further good news, tomorrow is the day that Victoria will meet that threshold as well. So I will update everybody again tomorrow morning.

“I have been in contact with... the New South Wales premier... and I have advised also the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, that if they reach that 28 days tomorrow, then they too will be open on December 1.”

Dr Young said it had been 28 days since NSW had an “unlinked case”.

“So all of their cases since then have been linked and able to be traced back to known outbreaks, known clusters, which means that we can reopen our border to New South Wales on December 1, which was always in our planning going forward,” she said.

“And hopefully we will be doing exactly the same thing for Victoria and we'll see their case numbers today and tomorrow and be able to make that announcement.

“South Australia – we're still waiting to see how their outbreak unfolds. It's been really good so far.

“They've had only small numbers. They're up to 27 yesterday. We just have to see what happens in that first incubation period.”

Word of caution to Queenslanders

Despite the good news, Dr Young said it was “important... to recognise that this virus is circulating throughout the world”.

“The case numbers are increasing. We're very safe here because of our international border restrictions, but it could happen at any time,” she said.

“It was so unexpected when they got that case in South Australia and their hospital system down there is to be commended that they picked up that case so quickly who presented to one of their emergency departments.

“So we have to do the same here in Queensland. I have every confidence that we will.

“Any symptom, anywhere in the state – we don't know what might have been the cause. Please just come forward and get tested.”

Families and travellers from NSW and Victoria will no longer need border passes, allowing them to make their plans for the upcoming holiday season.

Ms Palaszczuk says the reopening will also give certainty to the airlines and tourism operators.

"It might be a little bit difficult getting some accommodation somewhere because of our successful campaign, a lot of tourism operators are saying that they are booked out," she said.

"But we do want to encourage families to get together before Christmas, this has always been the aspiration of the national cabinet.

"And as I've always said, My number-one priority is to keep Queenslanders safe. We always act on the advice of Dr Young and that is exactly what we have done today."

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