The Queensland government has announced that it will no longer require a negative PCR or Rapid Antigen Test for interstate travellers prior to entry into the state.
The state will also no longer require travellers to complete a border declaration pass, nor be fully vaccinated to cross state lines.
However once in Queensland, travellers will need to abide by local vaccination rules, meaning they must be double jabbed in order to enter hospitality venues, entertainment centres, hospitals or aged care facilities, museums or libraries, and so on.
The changes come into effect from 1am on Saturday, 15 January, and mark the first time that Queensland has eradicated all border restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Now is the time for the barricades to come down and for the police to come home and the police to continue about their normal operational duties on the front line as they are needed throughout the state as we face this Omicron wave,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“This is the time, and the time is now right as we head towards hitting that 90 per cent [vaccine target] next week.”
Previously, Queensland was not expected to drop testing and vaccination requirements for interstate travellers until it hit the 90 per cent vaccination target. Currently, 88.1 per cent of the eligible population in Queensland is fully vaccinated.
The state is also planning to finally reopen its borders to fully vaccinated international arrivals, once the 90 per cent target is hit next week.
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said that it was now “less important” to impose border restrictions on interstate travellers, as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country.
“We should assume that anyone travelling around Australia domestically could have the virus and so it is a lot less important to worry about where people are coming from around Australia and much more importantly, about where they are going,” she said.
Chief health officer John Gerrard added that the domestic border restrictions had achieved what was hoped, which was to give Queenslanders the time to go out and get vaccinated.
“Now the virus, as always was expected, is spreading through Queensland, but with a vaccinated population,” he said.
Queensland reported 14,914 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday.