Queensland has given New South Wales health officials just 48 hours to determine the source of three cases of Covid-19 in the community. The state has just 24 hours remaining.
The new cases ended NSW's 12-day streak of no community transmission, meaning Queensland will likely reset the "border clock" between the two states.
Queensland requires NSW to record 28 days with no community transmission for the border to reopen.
Speaking to media on Thursday, Queensland's Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she's not "ruling out" any decisions regarding the border just yet.
"If the New South Wales Premier is on high alert about those cases, I'm on high alert," she said.
"We are not ruling out anything at the moment. There's another 24 hours for them to look at where those cases came from.
"We hope NSW gets on top of those cases very quickly."
In the past 36 hours alone, NSW has recorded eight cases of Covid-19 attributed to community transmission. Queensland in comparison has recorded another day of no new cases.
With the current Queensland benchmark set at 28 days without community transmission, the earliest date that the Sunshine State will open could now be well into November.
Last Friday, the Queensland government pointed to a complete reopening to NSW on November 1 as part of their Stage 5 pandemic road map. That date is now in limbo.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian hit out at her Queensland counterpart, saying that with the constant "changing goalposts" set by the Annastacia Palaszczuk government – residents may never be able to enter the Sunshine State.
"I'm just extremely concerned with the attitude of the Queensland government. Not only have they sent a benchmark which I think is unrealistic, because in a pandemic, in a place like NSW with 8 million people … of course you're going to have cases from time to time," she told Channel 9's Today Show.
"I'm just really disturbed by what I've heard from the Queensland government and I hope that they really see beyond the borders of Queensland. We're all Australians. Yes, we're from different states of Australia. But we're also all Australians. And Australians are suffering."
Berejiklian said that she was ignoring Queensland's looming border deadline, despite the state likely to keep NSW locked out well into November.
"I'm not going to waste my time trying to change what clearly is a predetermined position," she said of the Queensland government.
"The Queensland Government is just being so determined. And no matter what the advice is, no matter what New South Wales does, no matter how well we do or otherwise, they've got a predetermined position."
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard also hit out at Palaszczuk's deadline to find the source of the new community transmission cases in his state, saying the Queensland leader's border policy was "cruel".
"As Health Minister here in NSW, I'm over it," he told media on Thursday.
"I've got to say I think Premier Palaszczuk is being political, she is being cruel. It's time this pettiness is put aside and we move forward.
"As Health Minister I am constantly having requests from people in NSW who are in some very sad situations who want to get across the border to reunite with families.
"The range of circumstances that families need to gather together to contemplate, to care about, give each other care and support, is just enormous."
Previously, a leading epidemiologist from the University of NSW slammed the 28-day threshold for states to lift their hard border as "unreasonably stringent".
Professor Mary-Louise McLaws argued there are better targets for states to meet and that the 28 days of no community transmission will be a near-impossible milestone.
"I am a very cautious outbreak epidemiologist, and I think that the 28 days is beyond caution," McLaws told the ABC.
"It's admirable, but it's looking for total eradication, or close to [it]. And I don't think we can get to that."
A more realistic target, McLaws advised, could be a two-week rolling average in all jurisdictions of fewer than five cases.
University of Technology's tourism lecturer Dr David Beirman said the ongoing border debacle between NSW and Queensland is "unreasonable".
"Annastacia Palaszczuk and Western Australia premier Mark McGowan are in stiff competition with each other to be the most unreasonable premiers in Australia with regard to border restrictions," Beirman told news.com.au.
"The saddest part of Annastacia's policy is that she stands to lose quite a few seats in Far North Queensland and other tourism dependent areas which have been economically ruined by her policies to ban most interstate tourism."