The Queensland Government has unveiled its roadmap for the easing of border restrictions for travellers from Australian hotspots like Sydney and Melbourne today, with plans to allow fully vaccinated visitors to enter the state quarantine-free from 17 December.
The state’s plan, which also envisages permitting fully vaccinated travellers from hotspots to come into Queensland and complete two weeks of quarantine at home from 19 November, hinges on the eligible population going out to get a COVID-19 jab.
At this point in time, the government anticipates 70 per cent of the eligible population will be fully vaccinated on 19 November. As such, in a little over a month, people arriving by air into Queensland from a declared hotspot can enter as long as they are fully vaccinated and receive a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior. Once in Queensland, travellers must then quarantine at home for two weeks.
One month later, on 17 December, fully vaccinated travellers that test negative 72 hours prior to departure can arrive in Queensland by air. From this date, no period of quarantine will be required to be completed.
In addition, at this time, described by Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant as a “deadline”, international arrivals can undertake two weeks of home quarantine provided they are fully vaccinated and received a negative COVID test in the previous 72 hours before arrival.
At 90 per cent of Queenslanders fully vaccinated, which the government did not provide a timeframe for, there will be no entry restrictions for vaccinated arrivals from interstate or overseas. Unvaccinated travellers (domestic or international) however will need to apply for a border pass and undertake up to 14 days of quarantine.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk noted that if Queensland hits the 70 per cent fully vaccinated milestone prior to 19 November then the first stage of the border relaxation plan will be brought forward.
Currently 72.26 per cent of Queenslanders have received one dose, and 65.58 per cent have received two doses after more than 14,000 vaccines were administered yesterday, including nearly 8,000 at Bunnings stores state-wide.
“I cannot stress the imperative to getting vaccinated because there is going to be a risk of Delta outbreaks happening in Queensland and we need to be prepared,” Palaszczuk said.
“I can say that in Brisbane the vaccination rates are much higher than in regional Queensland, and we are one state, so we need the vaccination rates to increase right across the state.
“We’re going to weather the storm. We can be so prepared for this storm if we get vaccinated now. So I’m urging Queenslanders: this is your last opportunity.”
Deputy Premier Steven Miles’ message could not be more clear: “get vaccinated”.
“If you want to move around more, travel around more after the 17th of December - get vaccinated,” he said.
“If you want your family to visit for Christmas - get vaccinated.
“If you want to avoid regionalised lockdowns and restrictions - get vaccinated.”
Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young echoed the Deputy Premier’s message, noting that younger people in the state could be doing more to protect the community.
“We have a deadline: that’s the 17th of December,” she said.
“I make a plea to younger people; if younger people were to get vaccinated we would reach that target even earlier.
“It’s younger people in that 20 to 39 year age group who probably feel they’re invincible, but you’re not. You need to get vaccinated so we can return to a normal way of life.”
Queensland recorded no new cases of COVID-19 today.
Updated at 2.15pm AEDT on 18 October 2021.
Help us deliver quality journalism to you.
As a free and independent news site providing daily updates
during a period of unprecedented challenges for businesses everywhere
we call on your support