NSW residents can travel to South Australia for the first time in nearly six months as the state recorded its second day of no community transmission cases of COVID-19.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall confirmed the border restrictions with NSW will lift at midnight on Wednesday after a preliminary COVID-19 count in NSW showed no new locally acquired cases.
NSW residents travelling to SA will no longer have to go into 14 days of self-isolation once the SA government checks the latest case numbers and confirms the border can open.
The decision comes in time for NSW school holidays which start this weekend, and Virgin Australia plans to resume daily flights between Sydney and Adelaide from October 2.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said there had been no new locally acquired COVID-19 cases recorded from the 16,759 people tested in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday.
It’s the second day in a row with no community transmission. The last time NSW had consecutive days without community transmission was July 3-5.
There were six cases of COVID-19 recorded in returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
Ms Berejiklian said she was hopeful the entire Queensland border will be opened up sooner rather than later after the Sunshine State said it would extend its border travel bubble 100 kilometres into NSW.
“I hope the Queensland government takes that final step in getting rid of the border because the evidence is certainly indicating that it can,” she said on Wednesday.
However, Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said on Wednesday borders would stay shut to the rest of NSW until at least the end of the month and it remained unlikely they would reopen in October.
Ms Berejiklian continued to urge vigilance as the state enters a high-risk period in the school holidays.
“Our population will be more mobile than we have been since about February this year,” she said.
“We do know there are still a number of risks in NSW including the high likelihood the virus is still circulating, especially in western and southwestern Sydney undetected, which is why we really need to make sure everyone with mildest symptoms comes forward and gets tested.”
NSW is also preparing to boost the number of returning international travellers to 3000 people a week from next week, she said.
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the last unknown local source of COVID-19 infection in NSW was on September 7.
“So, very pleasing numbers, but it is not the time for complacency,” she said.
Dr Chant said health authorities continue to work with the taxi industry to improve the ability to track passengers after a recent COVID-19 diagnosis in a taxi driver.
“The QR code, we think is particularly useful in a taxi environment because it means it’s something you can quickly do in the back of the taxi that doesn’t impede your journey,” she said.
She encouraged all businesses to introduce the QR technology as it eliminated the need for customers to touch public surfaces.
“We understood that some cases of the disease were being transmitted from holding similar surfaces like a pen or a keyboard. So, our preference is obviously for more businesses to use those codes, where everybody has the handheld device as opposed to sharing,” she said.
Dr Chant also flagged restrictions on schools and community sport could soon be eased, saying an announcement will be made “very shortly”.
NSW Health is treating 74 COVID-19 cases including three in intensive care, one of whom is being ventilated.