Queensland's chief health officer says the sheer number of people applying for medical exemptions to enter her state is "unsustainable" following the death of an unborn twin in NSW.
A Ballina woman pregnant with twins wanted to give birth in Brisbane on Thursday, but was told by northern NSW Health officials that she would have to go into 14-day hotel quarantine under Queensland's COVID-19 border rules.
The expectant mother decided to fly to Sydney to give birth after consulting specialists at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
The woman's father, Allan Watt, said that during the birth one of the twins became anaemic and died.
"It's busted our family apart. I'm up here (in Ballina), her sisters and brothers are in Queensland, and they're in Sydney," Mr Watt told 4BC radio on Friday.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young called the case "very, very sad" but indicated that childbirth wasn't classified as a medical emergency.
She confirmed that ambulances and helicopters could still bring emergency patients into her state from NSW without medical exemption.
Dr Young said very few people had been granted exemptions, but conceded it was taking her too long to process genuine cases among a flood of applicants.
"I believe I am a compassionate person but at this point in time we are working through the process. All of these exemptions come to me and I work through them," she said.
"That's not sustainable because we are getting so many requests now, we are getting very large numbers of requests, particularly from Victorians who want to come up to Queensland because they don't want to remain in lockdown."
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says her "compassionate state" remains open to all Australians needing emergency medical care.
"This is an absolute tragedy about this young baby, I mean there's a woman who's grieving at the moment and many people know what that feels like," said the premier, who has previously spoken publicly about suffering a miscarriage.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the case was "terribly distressing" and called for more compassion from states implementing hard borders.
"It's important they're done with humanity, it's important they're done with compassion, it's important they're done with common sense and not only at looking at risk on one side of the ledger," he said.
National Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said the case was tragic but supported health officials in taking border restrictions seriously.
"They are very, very aware of what the effects of placing restrictions have within those border communities and my understanding is that there are exemptions, very clear medical exemptions for individuals," he said.
"That is at the forefront of chief health officers' minds."