Queensland’s border with Greater Sydney will finally open Tuesday of next week, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed.
“Dr Young (Queensland Chief medical Officer) is now satisfied that they have reached the over 28 days,” Palaszczuk said at a press conference.
“So can I say to New South Wales - we welcome you to Queensland from December 1.”
The premier added that tomorrow is the day that Victoria will meet its 28 days rule - which requires a state to go 28 days without a COVID-19 case with no known source.
Palaszczuk said she will provide an update on Victoria’s access to Queensland tomorrow and will also monitor the situation in South Australia.
Tuesday was NSW’s 31st day of no unlinked community transmission.
The hard border between the former “hotspot” of Greater Sydney and Queensland has been in place since August with NSW Premiere Gladys Berejiklian repeatedly slamming the Palaszczuk government’s decision to keep it closed.
Berejiklian on Monday accused Queensland of “making up stuff” and “changing the rules”.
See the video below for her comments:
Queensland on Tuesday reported one COVID-19 case in hotel quarantine as it hit 70 days since the last case was in the community.
Qantas said it will run more than 1,200 return flights from Victoria and NSW into Queensland in the run-up to Christmas.
The moves will please Prime Minister Scott Morrison who has pushed state leaders to relax some curbs to help revive the economy, which shrank 7% in the three months to end-June, the most since records began in 1959.
Looking further out, Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia - which has agreed to buy nearly 34 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine - is increasingly confident it can complete a vaccination programme after the release of preliminary trial results.
“Our vaccine timeline is beginning to strengthen. The news from overseas is that we are on track for first vaccines in March,” Hunt told reporters in Sydney.
AstraZeneca said its COVID-19 vaccine, cheaper to make, easier to distribute and faster to scale-up than its rivals, could be as much as 90% effective.
Australia has reported more than 27,800 cases of COVID-19 and 907 deaths since the pandemic began, but estimates there are fewer than 100 active COVID-19 cases remaining, mostly people in hotel quarantine.
Victoria said on Tuesday it had zero active cases for the first time in over eight months following a strict lockdown after daily infections peaked at more than 700 in early August.
With additional files from Reuters.