Queensland CHO nominates NSW border reopening condition

TCR Australia at Queensland Raceway in 2019 pic: TCR Australia Flickr

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer has explained what it will take for her state to reopen its southern border with New South Wales and therefore promote returns of national series.

Dr Jeannette Young stated today that the border will reopen once NSW goes four weeks without community transmission of COVID-19.

Every local government area in NSW is currently classified as a coronavirus hotspot by the Sunshine State, meaning only border residents and returning Queenslanders are allowed to enter.

The latter group is then obliged to serve out a 14-day period of hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Those and other border restrictions have led to the entire Virgin Australia Supercars Championship field being on the road for several weeks now, in both Queensland and the Northern Territory.

However, they have also rendered other national competition highly impractical, if not outright impossible.

“At this point in time, the trigger to open the border to New South Wales is when they’ve had two incubation periods of no community transmission,” said Dr Young.

“If they were to have 28 days of no community transmission – that’s the current definition to open the border – then that would occur.”

Those comments seem somewhat at odds, however, with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s on Tuesday.

Then, Premier Palaszczuk said, “We said we would review it at the end of each month and there has been no advice from the Chief Health Officer to change what we are doing.”

National Cabinet is also set to discuss a uniform definition of a hotspot when it meets again this Friday, which would also have implications for border restrictions.

Community transmission refers to cases acquired in Australia where there is no known source.

NSW Health today reported 12 new cases in the 24 hours to 20:00 last night. Of those, three are locally acquired, one is linked to a previously reported case whose source is under investigation, three are returned travellers in hotel quarantine, and five are linked to a known case or cluster.

If NSW was today to begin an unbroken run of 28 days without community transmission then, on the condition set out by the Queensland CHO, the earliest the border would reopen is early October.

The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 is scheduled for October 15-18 and is therefore the first Supercars event beyond that hypothetical date.

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