Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has pulled forward Queensland’s planned border changes in light of the state reaching its 70 per cent double-vaccination milestone.
From 5pm on Monday, Queensland will once again welcome travellers by air who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination at least two weeks before departing, including from hotspot areas such as Sydney and Melbourne.
However, travellers will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to flying and will need to quarantine for 14 days after landing.
Travellers that are located within two hours’ drive of Brisbane airport are also now allowed to enter home quarantine, rather than entering into a state-managed facility.
“So can I say, that’s come in earlier than expected,” Premier Palaszczuk said at the press conference.
In mid-October, the state announced its border reopening roadmap, and forecast the 70 per cent vaccination milestone would be reached on 19 November.
However, Queensland reached the milestone five days earlier than planned on Sunday and reported just over 80 per cent of the over-16 population had also received one dose.
“If these rates continue, that is good news because it may even see our date in December come a little bit forward as well. But that depends on Queenslanders getting vaccinated,” Palaszczuk added.
Restrictions will be eased further once the state reaches its 80 per cent double vaccination target, which is expected to be reached by 17 December. From then, interstate travellers no longer need to undergo quarantine and can travel into Queensland by road.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath added that after completing a home quarantine trial in October with 1,000 people, the state government has expanded the definition of a “residence”.
Instead of quarantine only being available to travellers with a standalone home, it now includes a townhouse or apartment where there is direct access to a door, without common walkways or corridors.
D’Ath said the home quarantine residence must be within two hours of the airport.
“If you can fly direct to any airport in Queensland from your interstate departure then you can home quarantine within that two-hour radius, or if you can transit through Brisbane on a single flight, then you can home quarantine as well,” D’Ath said.
There are also some restrictions on the means of transport in order to enter home quarantine, the health minister said.
Provided it is contactless, travellers can use their own private vehicle, including if someone drops a car off at the airport for them.
If arrivals will be completing quarantine with family, a member of that household can also pick them up from the airport.
D’Ath said contactless car hire is available, but taxis, Ubers or rideshares are not.
“We do not want to see people who are going into home quarantine getting into those broader, more general use vehicles that could see transmissions spreading,” she added.
If a traveller meets the criteria, from 5pm on Monday, a border pass can be issued to them immediately.
From 17 December, double-jabbed Australian citizens and residents will once again be welcomed into Queensland from overseas, however, they will be required to quarantine at home.
International travellers will also be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel.