The agonising wait for the Queensland border to reopen is finally over, with the state’s premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announcing the hard border will come down at 1am December 13.
Ms Palaszczuk declared during a press conference at 2 pm local time that Australians will be able to enter the Sunshine State well before Christmas, but there will be several requirements upon entry.
“Fully vaccinated travellers 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 welcome announcement comes more than a month after the state’s government previously projected a reopening of December 17.
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 coronavirus with the state expected to tick over to 79 percent double dose later today.
Ms Palaszczuk also announced that the timeframe for when someone is considered “fully vaccinated” had also been revised from December 13.
“You will no longer have to wait the two weeks after your second dose to be considered fully vaccinated,” the premier explained.
“The national guidelines say one week is enough.”
Ms Palaszczuk said that all arrivals from “domestic hot spots” — regardless of vaccination status — must get another Covid-19 test on Day 5 once in Queensland.
“There’ll be penalties applying if you don’t do that,” the premier said.
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It’s good news for communities living on the NSW/Queensland border, with vaccinated border-zone residents able to move freely across the border for any reason from Monday.
“You will need a border pass, and the border pass will run for 14 days,” she explained.
“But you will not need a test. We know that it has been extremely difficult for our border communities, and we’re hoping to provide some greater flexibility and freedom of movement for those communities.”
Ms. Palaszczuk unveiled the state’s roadmap to freedom back in October with health authorities estimating at the time that Queensland would hit 80 percent double dose by mid-December.
Under the plan, when Queensland hits 80 percent double dose, fully vaccinated Australians will be free to drive or fly into the state.
They will be required to apply for a Queensland entry pass and have proof they’ve tested negative to Covid, via a PCR test, within 72 hours of their entry to the state.
Speaking to reporters earlier today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the decision on opening up early was “ultimately” with the premier.
“The Doherty Institute scientific analysis that was done showed clearly once you get past 80 percent, it is a game-changer,” he said.
“We have seen that in New South Wales, in Victoria, and in the ACT. These states are living confidently with the virus and that is why we can come together this Christmas because of the great work that Australians have done.”
Currently, under the 70 percent double dose rules, interstate travellers from hotspots are able to fly into Queensland, provided they’ve returned a negative PCR test within 72 hours and they go into home quarantine for 14 days.
Greater Adelaide was added to Queensland’s hotspot list on Saturday after a high school reunion last week became the source of a cluster of Delta cases.
From 1.00am AEST Sun 05 Dec 2021:
❌ Greater Adelaide will be declared a hotspot.
Anyone who has been in the area since 1am on 28 November, arriving into QLD after 1am tomorrow, will be required to go into 14 days mandatory quarantine.
— Queensland Health (@qldhealth) December 4, 2021
Announcing the state’s roadmap back in October, Ms Palaszczuk urged Queenslanders to embrace vaccination to get their freedoms back.
“The faster we are vaccinated, the faster these deadlines will be achieved,” she said.
“It means that some of these dates may come forward if we get the vaccination rates up.
“We know that the world is a big place and there are families across Australia and there are families across the world and people have been telling me how they missed seeing their uncles, their aunts, their mothers, their fathers, their children.”
This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com