Interstate tension over virus border rules
As state leaders bicker over COVID-19 border closures one of the nation's top medical officers says there's no reason to keep states shut.
NSW will relax travel rules within the state from June 1 with regional travel allowed for interstate visitors and residents.
But Queensland is holding firm, telling its tourism industry to prepare for a likely September reopening of its state borders.
WA, SA and the NT are also maintaining hardline approaches on border closures amid fears of a second wave of infections.
Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly says the national health advisory committee has made no decision nor offered advice on state border closures.
"The domestic borders were not part of our plan for control of this, either opening or closing," he told reporters on Wednesday.
"From a medical point of view, I can't see why the borders are still closed."
He understood though why leaders had made those decisions when there were large numbers of new cases.
But there are now very few cases outside Sydney and Melbourne and many of those were people in quarantine after returning from overseas.
Just 13 new cases were recorded over the past 24 hours, giving Australia 535 active cases out of its total of 7079, which includes 100 deaths.
South Australia and the ACT have no active cases, the NT has one but has not recorded a new infection in four weeks, while Western Australia has four and Queensland 12.
WA Premier Mark McGowan knows his tough stance is frustrating political leaders on the other side of the country.
"It might inconvenience the NSW premier and some people from the eastern states, but frankly, I don't give a damn," he said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the move would be an opportunity for her state as the tourism sector returns to life.
"NSW will welcome visitors from all across the country," she said on Wednesday.
Queensland's chief health officer Jeannette Young flagged the possibility of borders remaining shut beyond September if infections weren't controlled.
Professor Kelly said there would almost certainly be more cases found as the nation's economy and society began reopening, but the system was designed to find them quickly and minimise the number of people in the chains of transmission.
"It may be some time for us to get four weeks without any cases in the larger states so I hope that Queensland will take that into account," he said.
He noted some compassionate exemptions had been made for NSW students to return to boarding schools in Queensland.
South Australia will allow dining for up to 10 people in restaurants and cafes from June 5, three days earlier than planned.
The ACT will move to the second step of relaxing restrictions, allowing groups of up to 20, from May 29.
There have been almost six million downloads of the coronavirus contract tracing app, with Victorian and NSW health authorities confirming they have used the data for the first time.
On Monday evening, Victoria's tracers identified a positive patient who had the COVIDSafe app on their phone and allowed authorities to use the data.
© AAP 2020