QLD could open to Victoria before NSW
Queensland could open its border to Victoria a week earlier than NSW if cases remain under control, according to one expert who says a December 1 reopening is not out of the question.
But Griffith University Infectious Diseases and Immunology Professor Nigel McMillan said the decision could become complicated if the two states remain open to South Australia, where health officials are battling a COVID-19 outbreak.
Queensland borders have been closed to parts of South Australia since Monday, while Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young confirmed this week the city would need 28 days of no local cases to lose its hotspot classification.
There have been no new locally acquired cases in the past 10 days in NSW and Victoria reported its last case of community transmission on 29 October, as Queensland doubles the number of people allowed indoors at places like cafes, restaurants and churches.
Griffith University Infectious Diseases and Immunology Professor Nigel McMillan said December 1 was looking realistic for the state reopening to Victoria if it continued on its current trajectory.
"At the end of the month they will be 31 (Vic) and 23 (NSW), I would suggest we could open up to Victoria December 1 and then NSW a week later but logistically it could be argued it would make more sense to open them up together," he said.
"Complicating factor will be if they are both still open to South Australia - then it may be like the ACT and we might decide that's too much of a risk."
He said it was not going to be possible to eliminate the virus with open borders, so opening and closing borders when an outbreak occurs should be expected.
"We need a more happy medium such as the approach NSW is taking with local control of cases as they appear but keeping everything open," he said.
Griffith University Institute for Glycomics Professor Johnson Mak said there would always be a risk for the border reopening, however learning to live with risk was important, while the key to handling the virus would be citizen discipline.
"Within Australia, the overall mental preparedness of people in Melbourne and Sydney are likely to be in a stronger position in dealing with 'next wave'," he said.
"Victoria and NSW have gone through their 'baptism of fire' training.
"It is OK for Queensland to close its border if the government feels this is the best way to protect Queensland citizens - at the same time, perhaps more efforts should be put in place to guide Queensland citizens to how to live with COVID-19 in the long run with the border open."
DAYS SINCE LAST CASE OF COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION
QUEENSLAND - 63 days
NSW - 10 days
VICTORIA - 18 days
TASMANIA - 186 days
SA: 0 days
WA: 220 days
NT: No known cases of community transmission
ACT: 233 days
Originally published as State could open to Victoria before NSW