Queensland has no new coronavirus cases but remains unlikely to throw open its border to all NSW before the end of October despite reopening to the southern state’s far north and the ACT.
The number of active cases fell to just five as the state’s longest-suffering coronavirus patient, Richard Misior, was transferred from acute treatment into rehabilitation at Gold Coast University Hospital.
The 81-year-old, who was a passenger on the Ruby Princess, spent 77 days in intensive care after contracting the virus.
Health Minister Steven Miles welcomed Mr Misior’s recovery as he announced the state had gone 13 days without a community transmission.
“Today is a truly fantastic day,” he told reporters on the Gold Coast.
“It’s day 13 as we track whether we have successfully suppressed those related clusters from the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, the Corrections Training Academy and the Ipswich Hospital.”
Those outbreaks were linked to 55 infections and are believed to be connected to two young women who travelled to Melbourne in June.
Mr Miles said Queensland could continue to record zero cases right through October.
“Let’s keep it up, let’s keep going, let’s make sure it’s the economy that rebounds and not this virus,” he said.
The latest figures follow the announcement on Tuesday that Queensland will extend its border travel bubble 100km into NSW.
About 152,000 residents of Byron Shire, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glenn Innes will be allowed to freely travel in Queensland from October 1.
ACT residents will also be allowed to fly into the Sunshine State without having to undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine from Thursday.
But Mr Miles said borders would remain shut to the rest of NSW until at least the end of the month and it remained unlikely they would reopen in October.
“We’ll continue to monitor NSW and Victoria … we’ll ease those restrictions as we can safely do so.”
Mr Miles said Queensland would maintain its “cautious” approach but admitted the extended border bubble “does create a risk” of another outbreak.
Health authorities require NSW to go 28 days without a case of community transmission before the border will reopen, although chief health officer Jeanette Young has previously flagged such criteria could change.