The Queensland Government will expand its home quarantine eligibility earlier than expected after the state surpassed the critical 70 per cent double-dose vaccination mark, with options for more arrivals to be introduced from 5pm today.
The decision means fully vaccinated people from Australian hotspots will be allowed into the state if they complete two weeks of home quarantine on arrival and produce a negative COVID-19 test.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the announcement this morning from the Gold Coast where vaccination rates still lag behind the state average, prompting her to urge the city's residents to come forward to get the jab ahead of the opening to NSW that is planned for 17 December.
"That's come in earlier than expected, and if these rates continue that is good news because it may even see our date in December come a little bit forward as well," the Premier said.
"But that depends on Queenslanders getting vaccinated."
Health Minister Yvette D'Ath said the criteria for home quarantine would be similar to what took place in a trial with 1,000 people, although the definition of what constitutes a residence has been expanded.
"It doesn't have to be just a standalone home. It can be a townhouse or an apartment where you have fresh air access to your door, so you don't have common walkways or corridors that you have pass through to get to the entrance of your unit," she said.
"So if you're in a ground floor apartment and you can directly access that without going through any common areas, you will be able to home quarantine there.
"You also have to be fully vaccinated, and it also has to be [at least] two weeks since you had your second dose, you have to have received a negative test within the 72 hours prior to flying in, and you must fly; you cannot arrive by road at this stage."
The residence must be within two hours' drive of the airport of arrival.
"You will be able to use your own private vehicle if someone drops off your car to you, as long as there's no direct contact," she said, adding that in the case of people quarantining with family members, those family members will be able to them pick up on arrival.
"You can also organise contactless car hire that is available, so we've tried to make it as easy as possible, but I do want to make it clear a normal taxi or Uber or rideshare is not available, and it will not meet the criteria."
Updated at 10:11am AEST on 15 November 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