The proposed quarantine-free travel bubble between Queensland and Western Australia has been suspended following news of a rideshare driver testing positive on the Gold Coast today.
WA Premier Mark McGowan announced the proposed travel bubble earlier this week as Queensland enjoyed 19 days without a community transmission. The bubble was set to go from midnight tonight.
However, Queensland’s COVID-free record was shattered today with the announcement that a man in his 30s tested positive after a trip to Melbourne on 10 October and that he was infectious in the community for 10 days. The Gold Coast resident, who has been admitted to hospital suffering COVID symptoms, is a registered Uber driver but it is understood he has not been active on the ride-sharing platform for some time.
The problem has been exacerbated by the man’s health status with health authorities revealing he is having trouble breathing and remembering events of the past two weeks. The man is also believed to have not used the QR check-in app to assist the authorities with contact tracing since 18 September.
The WA Government says that, based on the latest health advice, Queensland will remain classified as a 'low risk' jurisdiction, which is elevated from 'very low risk' previously.
However, the planned travel bubble is on hold until Monday, October 25, when the decision will be reviewed. The bubble would have Queenslanders to enter WA without having to self-quarantine for two-weeks.
"It appears the case in Queensland has authorities very concerned and as such we won't be taking any unnecessary risks,” says McGowan.
"The Chief Health Officer has advised we need to keep Queensland as a 'low risk' jurisdiction for the coming days pending a review on Monday.
"WA's controlled border arrangements enable us to keep WA safe and adjust accordingly to further protect WA.
"The border controls are in place based on health advice and I won't hesitate to make any further adjustments if we need to strengthen them further.”
McGowan urged West Australians to get vaccinated as the best protection for themselves and others. Western Australia has the lowest fully vaccinated rate of any state or territory in Australia.
"It's these instances that serve as a reminder that we need to get vaccinated,” says WA Health Minister Roger Cook.
“We need to keep up personal hygiene, check-in where we go for the purposes of contact-tracing, and follow the health advice."
For now, anyone entering WA from Queensland will need to continue to meet the G2G Pass travel requirements, including undertaking 14 days of self-quarantine.
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