Stern warning as restrictions eased

Queenslanders have been warned against meeting with friends from Sydney in the newly reopened border zones, such as Byron Bay as the state is set to enjoy an easing of public health restrictions in the Great Brisbane area after another day of no new cases of pandemic virus.

The decision means lockdowns on aged care and disability accommodation services will be removed, hospital visitor restrictions will be relaxed, and private gatherings of up to 30 people will be allowed, bringing the region in line with the rest of the state.

Queensland has not had an infectious case of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, since September 10.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the restrictions would be eased from 1am Friday.

"People can go ahead and organise that house party for Friday night," he said.

Mr Miles said Queensland Health would not progress with an option to use Central Queensland fly-in fly-out work camps as an option for compulsory quarantine.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said increased requirements for increased use of personal protective equipment in hospitals would be lifted.

She said the latest cluster had revealed that household transmission was the biggest risk for transmission of the virus.

Dr Young said it was still possible to get more cases from the latest cluster despite the 14-day incubation period being over.

She said she would like to see people practising more of wearing masks when they could not socially distance.

"We could have missed a case somewhere," she said.

Dr Young also warned it would not be "ideal" for people from Brisbane to meet with friends in Sydney in the newly reopened border zones, like Byron Bay.

It comes as the state's top doctor confirmed that at this stage, the decision to lift remaining NSW border restrictions would not be made until October 31.

NSW is expected to reach 28 days of no new community transmission on October 6 - the benchmark that the government set to reopen the border to Queensland's southern neighbours.

Dr Young confirmed today that their "current protocol" would be to wait until October 31 to make a decision on the borders if NSW reaches that 28 day mark on October 6.

"They (Sydney) had had their last case of unlinked transmission back on the 8th of September," she said.

"So the risk is decreasing."

She said it would not be "ideal" for people in Sydney to meet with friends in Brisbane in the newly reopened border zones, like Byron Bay.

"That is not the intent of the border zone," she said.

"The intent of the border zone is (for) people who live there, because we know they have that strong relationship with Queensland to be able to come into Queensland.

"It's not really designed for people to meet up there."

Queensland will throw its borders open to five new NSW council areas from October 1, with all Queenslanders allowed to travel to those regions without the need to quarantine when coming home.

Those local government areas, which are populated by more than 150,000 NSW residents, include Byron, Ballina and Lismore.

NSW residents living in those areas will also be allowed to visit anywhere in Queensland, but border declaration passes will be mandatory.

Meanwhile, a coronavirus vaccine could be available six months earlier after a groundbreaking study proposed by a Brisbane public health student was approved.

Sophie Rose, a Brisbane Girls Grammar graduate, was behind a campaign to have volunteers deliberately infected with coronavirus to fast-track the testing of vaccines.

Now the British government has given it the green light.


Originally published as LIVE: Restrictions milestone looms as new cases to be revealed