Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles says a series of factors will come into the decision on when the state reopens its border to NSW.
Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles says a series of factors will come into the decision on when the state reopens its border to NSW.

Bubble may expand before border reopens to NSW

An extension of Queensland's border bubble may happen before the state totally reopens to NSW.

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said a series of factors would come into decisions on the border, including sewage testing and the location of NSW's so-called mystery coronavirus cases - the infections that could not be traced to a known contact.

"It's not a binary decision," Mr Miles said. "There's a whole series of decisions here."

He suggested his Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young may decide to extend the border zone further into NSW next week, rather than reopen the border to all NSW residents.

Queensland Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles. Photo: Dan Peled.
Queensland Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles. Photo: Dan Peled.

"The Chief Health Officer will continue to monitor the situation in other states and provide advice and make decisions in the lead-up to what we announced in the road map was an intention to expand the borders come November 1," Mr Miles said.

"The concern in NSW continues to be those cases of unlinked transmission. That's one of the factors that Jeannette will look closely at. We'll take that into account, as well as reviewing the situation in Victoria. I encourage you not to look at this as a 'yes' or 'no' question.

"I know that people want to boil it down to one simple 'yes' or 'no', but it's not that simple."

Mr Miles said wastewater testing would play a part in the decision, with sewage analysis "proving really useful in monitoring the situation in NSW and in those border considerations".

He announced one new case of the pandemic virus on Wednesday, a man in his 30s who had travelled back from Kenya and tested positive while in hotel quarantine.

His case takes the number of known infections in Queensland during the pandemic to 1165.

The entire crew aboard a ship, the MV Sofrana Surville, anchored off Queensland's Sunshine Coast, will be tested following confirmation that a worker previously onboard has tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in New Zealand.

"There are no confirmed cases currently on the ship," Queensland Health said in a statement.

Mr Miles expressed no concern of a new strain of the virus potentially being brought into Queensland via the ship's crew.

"There are well established protocols," he said, adding the state's public health units had done well in managing potential infections on ships anchored off the Queensland coast.

"It's demonstrating how effective our COVID-safe freight plan is because we've had many ships with COVID-positive cases on them but we have not had any cases of people in Queensland contracting the virus from those cases.

"There's no reason to be particularly concerned about this case."

Originally published as Bubble may expand before border reopens to NSW



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