NSW has recorded five new COVID-19 cases as a state government frontbencher accuses Queensland of playing politics over its refusal to allow agricultural workers into the state.
Queensland on Friday agreed at national cabinet to aim to reopen its borders by Christmas.
However, together with Tasmania and Western Australia, the state declined to endorse a national agriculture code that would deem agricultural work an essential service.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the code was crucial for Australia’s agricultural sector, after years of drought were this year succeeded by a bumper harvest.
She again implored Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to revise her hardline position on borders, saying Australia’s eastern states are “inextricably linked”.
NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall was less diplomatic in his criticism.
“Politics has been allowed to trump common sense and our nation’s agricultural industry has been grossly let down as a result,” Mr Marshall said in a statement on Friday.
NSW will forge ahead with the code, working with Victoria, South Australia and the Commonwealth to allow agricultural workers to move freely between the southeastern states.
The Queensland state election is scheduled for October 31.
NSW recorded five new COVID-19 cases from more than 30,000 tests in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, including four linked to the City Tattersalls Club gym cluster.
That cluster in Sydney’s CBD now numbers 61 people.
An additional case was recorded after the 8pm deadline in a health professional who wore PPE while working at Concord Hospital on September 1 and Liverpool Hospital on September 3.
Patients and staff members who were in contact with the health professional are being contacted and advised to get tested and self-isolate.
NSW Health has also issued health alerts for Kuleto’s Cocktail Bar in Newtown on August 28, Bondi Platinum Fitness First on August 31 and Randwick Fitness First from August 30 to September 1 after they were visited by confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Anyone at the Newtown bar between 6.30pm and 9.30pm on August 28 for at least one hour must immediately get tested and self-isolate for 14 days.
Two positive cases attended Hyde Park Medical Centre in Sydney and NSW Health says anyone who attended between August 24 and September 5 is potentially exposed.
Staff are advised to get tested immediately and patients considered to be close contacts are being told to get tested and isolate.
With Father’s Day on Sunday, NSW Health has also advised against visiting Sydney, Blue Mountains or Central Coast aged care homes at the weekend.
“We understand this will be difficult for many families on Father’s Day, however our priority is to prevent the spread of the virus into the most vulnerable people in the community,” NSW Health’s Dr Christine Selvey said on Saturday.
Six COVID-19 cases in NSW are in intensive care, with four ventilated.
Meanwhile, small anti-lockdown protests have taken place in the Sydney CBD, western Sydney’s Olympic Park and at Byron Bay in northern NSW.
Police handed out 81 fines worth $ 1000 each across the three locations and arrested 14 people, nine of whom were in Byron Bay.
Two people were charged with assaulting a police officer.
Australian Associated Press