4 reasons why Northern NSW is now allowed in the ‘bubble’
THE lack of COVID-19 cases in Northern NSW has forced the Queensland Government to re-evaluate its border bubble.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the decision to expand the border zone to include Lismore, Byron, Ballina, Richmond Valley, Kyogle and Glenn Innes was a part the end-of-month assessment of COVID-19 protection measures.
“This expansion means border residents in these new areas can cross the border for any purpose,” Dr Young said.
Dr Young said she had taken a range of factors into consideration, including:
● The lack of COVID-19 cases in the expanded New South Wales border zone over an extended period,
● The overall drop in COVID-19 cases in New South Wales,
● Queensland’s strong work containing its recent cluster,
● The significant range and number of Queensland services and activities that people as far south as Ballina and Casino access.
Dr Young said the decision to expand the border further south was a result of both states working to reduce case numbers.
“New South Wales has done well and Queensland has done brilliantly,” Dr Young said.
“The fact there have been no cases in these expanded areas for some time is only one factor I’ve taken into consideration.
“It has also been important to understand whether COVID-19 carriers were moving across New South Wales and seeding uninfected areas of the state with the virus.
“We also needed to know that during September, Queensland had its recent cluster under control.
“Those factors have convinced me that the risk of increasing the border zone to these new areas is minimal.”
Dr Young said residents in Northern NSW will now be able to access the entire state of Queensland for any purpose.
“While the total number of people inside the border zone may only be a small percentage of the New South Wales population, I accept a number of people there have a deep and important relationship with Queensland,” she said.
“While National Cabinet has not yet considered a national definition for hot spots and how intra and interstate travel can be managed consistently across the country, I am confident this is safe.
“Of course, if we suddenly see cases in Northern New South Wales before next Wednesday, we will not put these measures in place but I am not expecting that.”
The border bubble will expand from 1am on October 1.