Premier’s ‘48-hour rule’ was never endorsed by experts
A strict deadline imposed by Queensland giving NSW contact tracers just 48 hours to find the source of a locally acquired COVID case or risk the border clock restarting was not accepted by the national team of health experts leading the nation's pandemic response.
That's despite Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's claims on Thursday that the 48 hour deadline was "agreed to by the AHPPC (Australian Health Protection Principal Committee)".
Sources familiar with AHPPC discussions told The Daily Telegraph the 48 hour deadline was never adopted by health experts.
The Daily Telegraph was told the 48-hour deadline was proposed by one person in an AHPPC meeting but the idea was not accepted.
Anything agreed to by the AHPPC goes to the federal government and National Cabinet, but it's understood the 48-hour time frame was never put to those decision making bodies.The time frame was proposed as part of a way to classify whether an area had COVID community transmission, a source familiar with the talks said.
Under the September proposal, a "COVID controlled zone" would be one where "the person who is the source of infection is identified quickly, such as within 48 hours of recognition of the case," meeting notes recounted to The Daily Telegraph said.
The proposal was not accepted.
Premier Palaszczuk on Friday claimed her strict border rules were based on a "criteria … that was agreed on by (the) AHPPC".
Asked whether the rules should be replaced with a regional hotspot plan, Ms Palaszczuk claimed the AHPPC "agreed … on a set of terms and conditions, and it never proceeded to National Cabinet".
"There was a proposal that was supposed to go to National Cabinet, and for some reason unbeknownst to me, the Prime Minister decided not to bring that forward," she said.
Premiers never saw the proposal because it was not agreed to by the AHPPC, The Daily Telegraph was told.
A federal health department spokesperson confirmed that the "AHPPC has not made any recommendations around domestic border closures".
"There is no national agreement around timeframes to identify source of infection," the spokesperson said.
The Queensland Premier did not answer specific questions from The Daily Telegraph about when the deadline was agreed to by the AHPPC.
The Queensland Health department also failed to answer the questions.Similarly, neither Queensland Health or that state's Premier answered questions about when the AHPPC agreed to a
The 48-hour deadline for finding the source of new cases has never been mentioned in AHPPC statements since the beginning of the pandemic.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the 48-hour deadline to link new cases "was completely new".
"I've never heard it before," she said on Friday.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant would not explicitly comment on advice provided from the national team of health experts when asked about that claim on Wednesday.
However, she said: "There's more factors than just having no locally acquired cases in any assessment of the risk from a particular area".
Originally published as Palaszczuk's '48-hour rule' was never endorsed by health experts