Queensland will open its border to all of regional NSW but Sydneysiders will remain on the Covid-19 border blacklist.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the formal announcement on Friday after meeting the state's top doctor.
She said the border will reopen to NSW, except for 32 areas in greater Sydney that are home to 4.8 million people, on November 3 at 1am.
But NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian pre-empted the news, telling reporters she understood the Sunshine State would continue to block Sydney residents from travelling north.
The state recorded one new case overnight, a gentleman in his 50s who returned from overseas and is in hotel quarantine on the Gold Coast.
Health authorities said they have also found coronavirus in sewage in Carroll Park and Wyndham.
Why Queensland has shut out Sydney
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young pointed to Sydney’s four new locally acquired cases recorded on Thursday as her reasoning for keeping millions of people from entering Queensland.
NSW authorities are yet to find the source of one case that went on to infect three other people.
"Yesterday they had four new cases and one of those cases they could not link to any other known clusters," she said.
"That means that they have transmission and they don't know where it is coming from."
‘Killing the economy’
The decision has received heavy backlash from both sides of the border.
Numerous people took to Twitter to slam Dr Young’s comments, accusing the government of killing Queensland’s tourism industry.
“What is wrong with the QLD premier. YOU ARE KILLING THE ECONOMY. $7MIL A DAY IN TOURISM,” one woman wrote.
“QLD will open its borders to all of NSW expect half of NSW LOL,” another wrote.
Some NSW residents outside the 32 blacklisted areas said they don’t want to visit Queensland now, despite finally being able to.
Sydneysiders warned people to be prepared not to spend Christmas with their loved ones this year if they live in Queensland.
Palaszczuk: ‘I have to do what I have to do’
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has repeatedly said she won't put Queenslanders' lives at risk by reopening the border too early.
"I have to do what I have to do to keep Queenslanders safe," she said.
The border has become a state election issue, with Labor warning voters the Liberal National Party can't be trusted to make sound decisions to protect the community from the virus.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian have also waded into the debate, with both repeatedly urging Queensland to open the border sooner than later.
It's a call echoed by business groups, who say the closed border is stifling trade and crippling profits.
The border with NSW closed on August 8, with access only permitted to frontier residents, essential workers, freight drivers and people granted medical or compassionate exemptions.
Anna McMurtrie, managing director of Sydney’s Wentworth Travel agency, told Yahoo News Australia she was “bitterly disappointed” in the Queensland government’s decision to exclude Sydney.
“We feel the pain for those business, particularly the tourism businesses in Queensland and Far North Queensland,” she said.
The border closure has had a profound impact on the state’s economy and the society’s mental health, she said.
LGAs declared hotspots in greater Sydney:
The Hills Shire
Unincorporated (Sydney Harbour)
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