The Queensland border is due to reopen in just a week and it’s got plenty of people excited that a cross-border Christmas is on.
But some health experts have questioned whether the border should remain closed for a few more days to ensure vaccination levels are higher in the face of the Omicron variant.
The Morning Show presenter David Campbell was certainly excited.
“It’s open! Yes Queensland” he tweeted shortly after the announcement was made.
It’s open! Yes Queensland https://t.co/65IOcJ0bMi
— David Campbell OAM (@DavidCampbell73) December 6, 2021
On Monday afternoon, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the hard border will come down at 1am December 13 – four days earlier than previously planned.
“Fully vaccinated travelers from interstate hot spots can arrive by road or air,” Ms. Palaszczuk said.
“You must have had a negative Covid test in the previous 72 hours. No quarantine is required if you are fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated, you must arrive by air only and hotel quarantine for 14 days.”
The revised reopening comes as Queensland inches towards its goal of 80 percent double dose vaccination.
Currently, more than 78 percent of Queenslanders have been fully vaccinated against Covid, with the state expected to tick over to 79 percent double dosed later today.
Earlier today the Queensland director of doctors’ union the Australian Medical Association said he had misgivings about the border opening earlier than originally planned.
Professor Chris Perry told Channel 9’s Today show that the rate of vaccination in some Indigenous communities was of concern.
“Aboriginal leaders have said maybe wait until vaccination lifts in those pockets which are way below that 80 percent target,” he said.
But Prof Perry said the border could only stay closed for so long.
“We have to open up and we want to do it when we’re fully vaccinated as best we can and we’re about there,” he said.
“It’s plainly obvious we can’t have Omicron zero … we know Omicron is coming to Queensland and we can’t hold it out but we’d like to keep it out a little longer if we can.”
Congratulations on getting vaccinated Queensland! Time to see our family and friends from over the border for Christmas.
If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, make a time to chat with your GP to get the best advice. https://t.co/rd10yXQu3w
— AMAQueensland (@ama_qld) December 6, 2021
However, the organization was less circumspect once the announcement was made, tweeting that it was “time to see our family and friends from over the border for Christmas”.
The AMA has urged vaccine stragglers to get the jab.
Everyone waiting for the Queensland border announcement: pic.twitter.com/KflncGt5D6
— Eli Green (@greeneli_) December 6, 2021
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll asked travelers to have documents prepared before entry to the state, urging drivers to “plan ahead and pack their patience”.
“We’re expecting a lot of people to be traveling into Queensland,” she told reporters on Monday afternoon.
“As a result, please, we are expecting extensive delays.
“To speed up the process, make sure that all of those traveling into Queensland have a border pass that is clearly displayed and easy to see.
“Motorists, please consider traveling out of those traditional peak hours — police will be meeting you at the borders, particularly on the road borders.”
This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com