Qld cuts Tweed, Byron from border bubble

Annastacia Palaszczuk foreshadowed changes to the border bubble after a COVID-19 case in NSW.
Annastacia Palaszczuk foreshadowed changes to the border bubble after a COVID-19 case in NSW.

Queensland will remove Byron Bay and Tweed Heads from the border bubble after the NSW government ordered the shires into a seven-day COVID-19 lockdown.

The state government says Byron and Tweed shire residents will only be allowed to enter Queensland for essential work, emergency volunteering and other limited essential purposes from 1am on Wednesday.

Previously they had been allowed to cross into Queensland for work, education, compassionate care or essential shopping, provided they've had one vaccine dose.

The announcement comes as NSW locks down Byron and Tweed as of 5pm on Tuesday after a COVID-19 case was infectious in both shires last week.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had foreshadowed changes to the border bubble earlier on Tuesday.

"The concern is, of course, if there are cases in northern NSW," Ms Palaszczuk told reporters.

"That will present a real risk to the southern parts of the Gold Coast, where I have thousands of families holidaying on the Gold Coast at the moment."

Removing Byron and Tweed from the bubble has complicated interstate travel for other border zone residents further south.

For Ballina, Richmond Valley and Clarence Valley shires residents, the most direct route to Queensland is via Byron and Tweed.

Queensland Health said people entering the state from non-restricted border zone local government areas in NSW could do so if they went through Byron and Tweed without stopping, in a private vehicle, in under two hours.

Queensland is already restricting travel from a number of NSW local government areas on the border.

They include Bourke, Brewarrina, Broken Hill, Glen Innes Severn, Lismore, Walgett Shire and the Unincorporated Far West.

It comes as new exposure sites are listed at Brisbane Airport after a passenger with COVID-19 spent about four hours inside during a connection from NSW to the Northern Territory.

Close contact sites listed for Friday, September 17, include the BNE news shop on level two of the domestic terminal between 6.45pm and 6.55pm and gate 25 between 7.30pm and 9.05pm.

The state recorded no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, while one new case emerged in hotel quarantine.

Queensland Health administered 20,512 vaccine doses in the 24 hours to 6am, meaning more than 60 per cent of eligible residents have had one dose.

Ms Palaszczuk urged people, particularly seniors, not to believe misinformation they may read online about vaccines.

She also took aim at a Courier-Mail report that cabinet had approved a plan to wait until vaccination coverage reached 90 per cent to reopen the borders.

"That is misinformation that was being peddled today," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"Let me say categorically, national cabinet is working on a national plan. We are waiting for further information to come from the Doherty modelling to national cabinet in a fortnight's time."

Australian Associated Press