Queensland promises to reunite families by Christmas under Covid border reopening plan

Annastacia Palaszczuk announces lifting of border restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers from NSW and Victoria once 80% of Queensland residents aged over 16 get two jabs

Queensland expects to open its borders to Covid hotspots one week before Christmas, removing the need to quarantine for fully vaccinated interstate travellers once the state hits its 80% vaccine milestone.

Queensland’s vaccine rate lags behind Victoria and New South Wales with 80% of Queensland residents aged 16 expected to have had two doses by 17 December.

From 19 November, when 70% are expected to be fully vaccinated, interstate arrivals from New South Wales and Victoria will be allowed in, but they must test negative prior to arrival and undertake 14 days of home quarantine.

The premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the announcement on Monday, as she outlined the state’s reopening plan.

“I’m releasing our Queensland Covid vaccine plan, a measured and cautious plan that will do what we want to do to reunite families and protect Queenslanders from Delta,” Palaszczuk said.

“That’s good news for families to be reunited for Christmas.”

At 70% fully vaccinated interstate arrivals must come by plane – they will not be permitted to drive across the border. Overseas arrivals will need to complete 14 days of hotel quarantine.

At 80%, expected on 17 December, fully vaccinated people will be able to enter the state by air or road, without having to quarantine, as long as they provide a negative Covid result within 72 hours of arriving.

Overseas arrivals will also be able to home quarantine at 80% if they test negative to Covid prior to departure.

At 90% fully vaccinated, there will be no border restrictions or quarantine for fully vaccinated domestic and international arrivals.

The plan does not provide a timeline for when unvaccinated people will be able to cross the border.

Palaszczuk said the measures were “good news” for families hoping to be reunited for Christmas, while maintaining a “sensible and cautious approach”.

Palaszczuk said that the dates set by the plan may be brought forward if vaccination targets are hit earlier.

“The faster we are vaccinated, the faster these deadlines will be achieved. It means that some of these dates may come forward if we get the vaccination rates up.”

The premier urged residents to get vaccinated, saying it was their “last opportunity” to get inoculated before the borders reopened.

“There is going to be a risk of Delta outbreaks happening in Queensland and we need to be prepared,” she said.

“If we’re going to weather this storm, we’re going to be so prepared for this storm if we get vaccinated now. This is your last opportunity to get vaccinated.”

Chief health officer Jeannette Young warned that although there were no active clusters in Queensland, there was still a chance an outbreak could happen.

“Once we start seeing cases this virus will find people who aren’t vaccinated. We know that you are very protected if you are vaccinated. We now have a deadline.”

It comes as treasurer Cameron Dick heralded the release of the reopening plan as the moment Queensland abandoned its “Covid-zero” approach.

“For almost 600 days for nearly two years we have kept the virus out of Queensland. Those days will soon come to an end. This will be the end of the zero Covid for Queensland.”

“If we can get this job done with as little death and little illness as possible, we can get this job done with as little economic devastation or damage as possible, then this will be of generational benefit to Queenslanders.”

Contributor

Mostafa Rachwani

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
‘Corporate mates’: Queensland lashes exemptions for business travellers amid Covid outbreak
Commonwealth says international travel claim is a ‘smokescreen to hide the ineffectiveness’ of state quarantine system

Ben Smee and Amy Remeikis

30, Jun, 2021 @6:51 AM

Article image
NSW and Queensland premiers hit back after Morrison government blames states for slow Covid vaccine rollout
NSW health minister Brad Hazzard demands an apology after Scott Morrison comments as Australia falls 3.4m doses short of target

Melissa Davey

31, Mar, 2021 @3:49 AM

Article image
Queensland scrambles to contain Brisbane Covid outbreak ahead of NRL grand final
State records four new cases and reintroduces some restrictions, but premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says there is ‘no need to panic’

Ben Smee

28, Sep, 2021 @1:14 AM

Article image
NSW outlines reopening plan as state records 787 cases, 12 deaths; Victoria 705 cases, one death; ACT eases some restrictions – As it happened
All today’s news as it unfolded

Nino Bucci and Mostafa Rachwani

27, Sep, 2021 @8:51 AM

Article image
'2021's April fool': Queensland deputy premier attacks David Littleproud over vaccine rollout
Steven Miles says only a third of his state’s aged care residents have had jabs and calls out federal minister for his criticism of states

Christopher Knaus

01, Apr, 2021 @2:51 AM

Article image
Queensland reopening plan caught in catch-22 as Covid vaccination rate lags national average by 10%
Despite the premier saying restrictions would ease when at least 80% of over 16-year-olds were fully vaccinated, there has been no notable spike in uptake

Caitlin Cassidy

10, Nov, 2021 @4:30 PM

Article image
Queensland Human Rights Commission flooded with inquiries due to Covid border confusion
Commissioner says lack of detail has ‘created a vacuum where misinformation is able to be spread’

Ben Smee

26, Nov, 2021 @7:00 PM

Article image
Lockdown ends in south-east Queensland but Cairns residents ordered to stay home due to mystery case
State records nine local cases as Cairns taxi driver found to be infectious in the community for 10 days

Justine Landis-Hanley

08, Aug, 2021 @5:25 AM

Article image
Qld Covid update: chief health officer rejects claims of ‘scaremongering’ over AstraZeneca vaccine
Jeannette Young defends stating ‘facts’ of blood clot risks for young people as state records two new local Covid cases, including an airport worker

Ben Smee

01, Jul, 2021 @2:32 AM

Article image
Fear and anger as NSW-Queensland border town cut in two by Covid restrictions
Indigenous residents of Mungindi in NSW say most residents have been separated from the hospital, and inflexible border policies are placing them at greater risk of Covid

Ben Smee

26, Aug, 2021 @3:35 AM