Qld border to reopen to regional NSW

Queensland will reopen to all of regional NSW, but is still banning Sydney residents.
Queensland will reopen to all of regional NSW, but is still banning Sydney residents.

Queensland will reopen to all of regional NSW, but Sydney remains on the COVID-19 border blacklist after another unlinked mystery case of the virus.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles says the border will remain closed to people who travel through Victoria and 32 local government areas of Greater Sydney.

The current restrictions will be eased from 1am AEST on Tuesday.

It means Queenslanders and people who have not been in Sydney and Victoria will be able to travel in and out of the Sunshine State.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young cited ongoing mystery COVID-19 outbreaks in the Greater Sydney area for her decision to continue blocking the 4.8 million residents from the city from entering Queensland.

"Yesterday they had four new cases and one of those cases they could not link to any other known clusters," she said.

"(That) means that they have transmission and they don't know where it is coming from.

"That is why those 32 (local government areas) all need to be declared hot spots".

The decision was quickly slammed by NSW and Qantas.

Chief executive Alan Joyce called it "ridiculous", saying Sydney was Australia's biggest city and it was managing the virus better than most places around the world.

"Keeping the doors bolted to places that you can't reasonably call hot spots makes no sense," he said in a statement.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was also critical.

"I'm disappointed ... It's extremely unfair and lacks logic and common sense to continue to lump NSW with Victoria - our states have taken very different paths," she said.

The border closed in August, with Queensland saying it would potentially reopen on November 1 if NSW had control of virus outbreaks in the community.

But that was thrown into jeopardy on Thursday, when the southern state recorded another mysterious virus case with no links to a known cluster.

"Yesterday changed, so I was ready to make that decision and then I saw that four new cases came from an unknown source," Dr Young said.

The border has become a state election issue, with Labor warning voters the Liberal National Party can't be trusted to make sound decisions to protect the community from the virus.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has repeatedly said she won't put Queenslanders' lives at risk by reopening too early.

But Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said there needed to be more common sense with decisions about the border.

She said exemptions to cross it had been granted to footballers and celebrities such as Dannii Minogue and Tom Hanks but not families with sick loved ones.

The border with NSW closed on August 8, with access only permitted to frontier residents, essential workers, freight drivers and people granted medical or compassionate exemptions.

But a border bubble was later extended to take in much of northern NSW, with residents from communities as far south as Byron Bay allowed to travel in and out of Queensland.

Queensland recorded one new case in the 24 hours to Friday morning after a man in his 50s tested positive in hotel quarantine on the Gold Coast following his return from Sweden.

Travellers coming in and out of Queensland continue to be required to complete border declaration passes, with people who have been in hotspot areas in the 14 days before entry to the state required to quarantine.

Greater Sydney and Victoria remain hotspots.

The current border restrictions will be reviewed at the end of November.

Australian Associated Press