Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the state’s international borders will finally be reopened for vaccinated Australian travellers.
From 1 am on Saturday, January 22, the premier said fully vaccinated international travelers will be able to enter Queensland without quarantine. However, a rapid antigen test will be required within the first 24 hours.
“So if you have family or loved ones – I know a lot of people have sons and daughters overseas or parents or brothers and sisters overseas – you can come into Queensland and you will no longer have to do if you are vaccinated, quarantine. You are free to come in,” Ms. Palaszczuk said.
The decision to reopen international travel comes as Queensland’s vaccination rates continue to rise.
More than 88 percent of the state’s eligible population is fully vaccinated and more than 91 percent have received at least one dose.
“We want to give some certainty to the industry and for people who are traveling,” the premier said.
Unvaccinated international arrivals will still be required to undertake 14 days quarantine.
The announcement comes as Queensland reported 19,932 new cases overnight and 11 more Covid-related deaths.
Ms. Palaszczuk said reopening international travel was to not just see families reunited but to give businesses certainty.
“This gives added certainty as well for our business community,” she told reporters.
“A lot of businesspeople have been wanting to travel overseas for various things and likewise people coming here. This gives them added certainty as well now to be able to freely opt to go overseas and come back and not have to do the 14 days.”
Ms. Palaszczuk said she had sympathy for those who had previously completed 14 days quarantine.
“Having done the 14 days. Can I say? I think a lot of people will be very happy that they won‘t have to do it,” she said.
Queensland’s daily Covid tally today was higher than the 15,962 cases reported the day before.
Today we have recorded 19,932 new COVID-19 cases.
Sadly, we have reported 11 deaths in the past 24 hours.
Full details ➡ https://t.co/2vvTmliFgl pic.twitter.com/f8ZwK6ZG5p
— Queensland Health (@qldhealth) January 19, 2022
The state’s death toll now stands at 56, a figure that has leaped eight-fold in the past two weeks. Wednesday’s fatalities included one unvaccinated person in their 30s, one in their 50s, two in their 60s one in their 70s, three in their 80s, and three in their 90s.
Just two people had received booster shots.
The update comes amid reports the state’s health system is struggling to keep up with demand.
Health staff have reported being completely overrun by the surge in cases, while tents have been erected outside major hospitals, including Gold Coast University Hospital, to ensure emergency departments are not overrun.
Chief health officer Dr. John Gerrard on Tuesday said plans were in place for a significant increase in hospitalizations ahead of the peak of the virus wave in the coming weeks.
“We are planning for numbers in the thousands,” Dr. Gerrard said. “That’s what I would say..
This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com