Border battles continue to keep Australians in travel limbo as authorities reveal who will be first in line for a coronavirus vaccine.
Queensland has set a strict benchmark of 28 days clear of unlinked community transmission before NSW residents can visit.
In another possible setback to the border reopening, a nurse in NSW was discovered to have worked a shift at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney while infectious, sparking a public health alert on Friday night.
NSW Health said the nurse was believed to have had contact with a single patient, and limited contact with a small number of colleagues, with contact tracing under way.
The alert followed the announcement of another five locally acquired cases in NSW on Friday.
While they’re all linked to a known cluster, the source of the cases is being investigated.
And more new cases are expected as contacts are identified, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian earlier acknowledging the state’s 12-day run of no community transmission has made people complacent.
“We need to shock ourselves out of that complacency and accept, and be reminded, how contagious the virus is and how each of us has a role to play in keeping the virus at bay,” she said.
Despite Queensland’s strict border clock, authorities are waiting until the end of the month before deciding what to do.
The state is in the lead-up to its October 31 election, with the Labor government saying it will open the border in November, depending on how many locally acquired cases NSW has.
But Sydneysiders can travel again to the Top End after the Northern Territory removed its hotspot declaration for the harbour city.
Victoria recorded another 11 cases of coronavirus on Friday but no deaths, keeping the national toll at 897.
It is the second day in a row the state has not added to its coronavirus death toll.
The cases take Melbourne’s all-important 14-day case average down to 9.4.
The city needs a 14-day average of five or fewer cases and no more than five mystery cases to ease restrictions on October 19.
Meanwhile, elderly Australians, people with chronic illness and healthcare workers will be first in line once a coronavirus vaccine is available.
“Obviously people who are most at risk will be at the top of the list,” Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said in a video posted to social media.
But he reassured Australians a vaccine will not be made available until one is safe and effective at providing an immune response to the virus.
The Morrison government is putting more than $2 billion towards local and international vaccine development.
This week’s federal budget forecasts rely on a coronavirus vaccine being made widely available by late 2021.
The world has marked another grim milestone after a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases.
The World Health Organisation reported more than 338,700 cases in 24 hours led by a surge of infections in Europe.
Global deaths rose to 1.05 million.