The countdown is on to see if NSW can find the source of three mystery COVID-19 cases before Queensland resets the clock to reopen the border.
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles on Wednesday said plans to reopen the border at the end of the month may be delayed if NSW Health can’t find the source of the unlinked cases in the next 48 hours.
The border between the two states has been closed since August 8 with Queensland setting NSW a target of 28 days of unlinked community transmission before it fully reopens.
The southern state went for 12 days without a new coronavirus case before three new cases emerged in Sydney late on Tuesday.
Dr Miles said NSW had until Thursday night to link those cases or the border clock could be reset.
“The contact tracers in NSW will have 48 hours to see if they can scientifically link these cases to existing clusters. I really hope they can,” the deputy premier told reporters late on Wednesday.
“If they can then that won’t have any effect on our timeline, so as far as we know for now, we are still on track for a review towards the end of the month and a potential reopening on the first of the month.
“If these cases aren’t linked then that will need to be revised … we would consider pushing that date back.
“If they can’t be linked within two days then the link isn’t sufficiently clear”.
Dr Miles stopped short of saying the clock will be reset and said the “specifics” would need to be looked at by the chief health officer before a decision was made.
Queensland recorded no new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, with just seven active cases in the state.
Meanwhile, the government has intervened in the case of a man with brain cancer who was initially denied a doctor’s request to quarantine at home.
Gary Ralph, 71, had surgery in Sydney last week and arrived back in Queensland on Tuesday when he was ordered into hotel quarantine.
The operation reportedly took away Mr Ralph’s ability to speak and his NSW doctor asked Queensland Health to allow him to self isolate at his home.
Ms Palaszczuk said Mr Ralph’s situation was “very distressing” and she had asked Mr Miles to look into his case.
“I’m not happy with the way Queensland Health has dealt with that at all,” she said.
Dr Miles has since said Mr Ralph has been moved to a government medi-hotel along with his wife.
He said if that proved insufficient a room in a hospital would be made available.