NSW’s 12-day streak of no mystery cases of COVID-19 ended on Wednesday – meaning the state has now fallen short of Queensland’s 28-day requirement to open its border.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian immediately sent a message out via reporters to her Queensland counterpart Annastacia Palaszczuk, arguing, “I appreciate you will probably come out today and say the 28 days is ticking again from the start.
“I will put to you that until the end of the pandemic, it’s highly unlikely, highly improbable that NSW will ever get to 28 days in a row … because that is not how a pandemic works.”
Last month, Queensland ministers stated they would only consider opening back up to NSW once again when the state had recorded 28 days without community transmission – that is, cases where the source of infection can’t be traced.
Despite earlier claims from NSW that the target was unrealistic, the state had just gone 12 days without a local infection.
The streak ended on Wednesday, though, with one mystery case detected in western Sydney and another two in south-west Sydney.
Shortly after the announcement of the increase, Premier Berejiklian attacked Queensland’s policy.
“We’re always going to have cases pop up because we’re in a pandemic,” the premier told reporters.
“But we’re also in an economy which is open; where people are undertaking their business [and] where we don’t have borders, but for Victoria. So we really need to put all of that into perspective.”
She also hit out at states, such as Queensland and WA, that are relaxing restrictions for its own citizens while keeping up interstate border closures.
“I’ve noticed that Queensland and WA continue to ease restrictions in their communities, although they keep the border up,” Premier Berejiklian told reporters on Wednesday.
“Now that is a false sense of security: you’re better off getting those borders down, creating jobs through tourism and business and generating economic activity and keeping jobs.”
The pair’s war of words stretches all the way back to June when Premier Berejiklian slammed Premier Palaszczuk’s “ridiculous” plan to delay opening up Queensland until September – before her counterpart responded by stating she would not be “lectured to” on the issue.
In September, Berejiklian even appeared to suggest Queensland was being small-minded in its approach. Speaking on the Today program, Premier Berejiklian said, “I don’t know if it’s because we’re NSW and maybe we have a different world view of our nation, but with Victoria out of action you have to think about what is going to power our economy forward?”