For the eleventh consecutive day NSW has reported no new locally-acquired cases of COVID‑19 but Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she doubts the state will go 28 days without community transmission.
Health officials say 11 cases were recorded in overseas travellers in hotel quarantine in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday, bringing the total number of cases in NSW to 4057.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who goes to the polls on October 31, has stipulated NSW must go 28 days without any locally-acquired cases before the border can re-open on November 1.
But Ms Berejiklian says the requirement is unrealistic and there is no contingency plan if NSW records a case after that.
“If you apply that criteria: what’s the next step?” Ms Berejiklian asked while speaking on Sydney radio WSFM’s on Tuesday.
“Does that mean that they’ll open the borders and we’ll get a case and they’ll close again? You can’t live like that.”
She said borders should now be open to all states except Victoria with strict COVID-safe regulations and contact tracing to quash any outbreaks.
There were 5385 tests conducted in the 24-hour reporting period, compared with 4789 the previous 24 hours.
NSW Health remains concerned about the recent drop in testing, saying at least 8000 people should be tested in NSW each day.
“NSW Health is appealing to the community to come forward for testing right away if you have even the mildest of symptoms like a runny nose or scratchy throat, cough, fever or other symptoms that could be COVID-19,” a statement said.
In particular people with symptoms in the Hawkesbury and southwestern Sydney were urged to get tested after sewage surveillance detected the virus at the North Richmond and West Camden treatment plants.
The most recent cases in the West Camden catchment were reported last month but no one living in the North Richmond catchment has recently tested positive.
Virus fragments in sewage can mean active cases but people can continue to ‘shed’ virus genetic material for some weeks after recovery.
Meanwhile packed beaches and low weekend test numbers have concerned authorities, with local councils forced to close some Sydney beaches due to overcrowding.
NSW Health is treating 50 COVID-19 cases, including three in intensive care, none of whom are being ventilated. Eighty per cent of cases being treated are in non-acute, out-of-hospital care.