Revealed: How soon Sydneysiders can travel to Queensland
Queensland's border to NSW could swing open for the state's residents in just two weeks if no more mystery cases of the virus are detected by health authorities.
NSW has marked a milestone with no cases of COVID-19 from an unknown source for more than a fortnight, meaning that a holiday to the Sunshine State could be on the cards sooner than expected.
The last time NSW Health confirmed a case of the disease that couldn't be traced to a cluster was on September 7.
The Queensland Government has pledged to open the border to NSW residents after 28 days - or two incubation periods - without any untraceable infections.
According to Queensland health authorities, this means there must be no cases "where the contact tracing and testing is unable to identify how the person was infected" for 28 days.
SA PREMIER: NO COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION CASES IN NSW
The South Australian Premier says he is "confident" the border will open to NSW residents from midnight, revealing the state recorded no community transmission cases overnight.
Steven Marshall told the Today Show he "can't wait to welcome people from NSW with open arms" after being told of the latest NSW figures by health authorities.
South Australia reopening its border to NSW was dependent on if the east coast state recorded no community transmission cases today.
Those who travel to SA from NSW will no longer be required to quarantine for two weeks.
"It's been tough with family dislocation and business dislocation but all that comes to an end as of midnight tonight so we're really looking forward [to that]," Mr Marshall said.
NSW recorded just two new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours to Monday night and both were returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
VICTORIA RECORDS 15 CASES, 5 DEATHS
Victoria has recorded just 15 new COVID-19 cases, a drop from yesterday's 28 infections.
Sadly, five more people have died from the virus.
Melbourne's 14-day rolling average has dipped below 30, now standing at 29.4.
The city's 14-day average was 32.8 on Monday, well within the state's 30 to 50 case range required to move to the second step on September 28.
AIRLINES RUSH TO PUT ON MORE FLIGHTS
Airlines are putting more planes in the air and boosting the economy in a high-flying response to South Australia's decision to open its borders with NSW.
There are similarly high hopes for northern travel down the track after Queensland also slightly relaxed restrictions to allow a further 152,000 NSW residents along its border to apply for a permit to enter.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the moves were "not before time", while NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian called for Queensland to "go further".
Aussie airlines responded quickly to the moves with Virgin, Qantas and Jetstar announcing that flights between Sydney and Adelaide would be significantly increased in the coming weeks.
Virgin boss Paul Scurrah said: "In response to the South Australian border opening, we're increasing our flights between Sydney and Adelaide from three per week to a daily return service from 2 October."
A Qantas spokesman said: "The resumption of Qantas flights from Sydney to Adelaide and additional Jetstar flights on the route will be fantastic for tourism operators and local businesses in both South Australia and New South Wales."
Qantas, which hasn't operated services between the cities since July, will start daily flights from this Thursday.
Jetstar announced a flash sale today for flights to Adelaide from Sydney, which will increase from five a week to twice daily from October 1, and three daily from November 1.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said 41 more NSW postcodes will be added to its border bubble, with restrictions for Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes shires will be lifted from 1am on October 1.
The decision will allow 152,000 NSW residents to apply for a border permit to travel to Queensland and allow Queenslanders to go there without needing to quarantine afterwards
Ms Berejiklian was delighted with yesterday's South Australian decision: "I welcome that and obviously encourage Queensland to go further, given where NSW is in the pandemic.
"It is time for the Queensland government to bring down the whole border," she said. "It's sad to think that families at Christmas could be separated when borders are up unnecessarily."
She said there was still confusion over the Sunshine State's rules on border closures. Queensland's Chief Medical Officer has said the border will reopen only after 28 days without "community transmission". Queensland Health defines "sustained community transmission" as cases "where the contact tracing and testing is unable to identify how the person was infected".
Ms Berejiklian said it is unclear what that means.
"I'm not sure what the definition is but I know that either way, it's a very difficult benchmark," she said.
Flights will also be boosted between Canberra and Adelaide with Virgin running three return services a week for the first time since they cancelled the route in March. Canberra will also receive extra Qantas flights from Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
SECOND WAVE SHUTS BRITAIN AGAIN
Britain has been plunged into new coronavirus measures, with people told to work from home, pubs closing early and masks required in restaurants for staff and diners as a second wave hits.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told parliament that a new round of restrictions were needed to prevent the virus from soaring to 50,000 cases a day by the middle of October.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday night, Mr Johnson said that hospital admissions have more than doubled in the last fortnight - and Britain has reached a "perilous turning point" like in France and Spain, and forced him to act.
Penalties for breaking coronavirus rules have also increased, with fines for not wearing a mask doubling to $355, while those who refuse to self isolate could be fined almost $18,000.
Mr Johnson laid out the grim new rules, which were expected to be in place for up to six months.
"First, we are once again asking office workers who can work from home to do so. In key public services and in all professions where home working is not possible, such as construction or retail, people should continue to attend their workplaces," he said.
"Second, from Thursday, all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate a table service only, except for takeaways. Together with all hospitality venues, they must close at 10pm.
"And to help the police enforce this rule that means, alas, closing not just calling for last orders, because simplicity is paramount."
Mr Johnson was understood to have resisted calls to close all pubs and cafes to stop the spread of the virus because of concerns about the economy.
The work from home rule is another U-turn for the UK government, which a few weeks ago was urging people to go back to work in order to save their jobs.
Britain already has 13 million people under lockdown restrictions, while people have been ordered not to meet in groups of more than six, however grandparents are allowed to look after children.
And there has been significant criticism about testing capacity in the country with long waits for results forcing tests to be rationed.
Schools were, for now, to remain open.
Originally published as Revealed: How soon Sydneysiders can travel to Queensland