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Queensland to reopen international borders on 22 January

written by Hannah Dowling | January 19, 2022

A Singapore Airlines A350-900 (9V-SMB) at Brisbane Airport. (William Percival-Hayes)

The Queensland government has announced that it will drop its quarantine requirements for travellers arriving into the state from overseas this weekend, despite not quite hitting its 90 per cent vaccination target.

From 1:00am on Saturday, 22 January, fully vaccinated travellers will be able to arrive directly in Queensland from overseas, without entering into home or hotel quarantine.

However, travellers will be asked to take a rapid antigen test within 24 hours of arrival.

Federal requirements also stipulate that all international arrivals into Australia must provide evidence of a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours of boarding their flight.

“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 … from 1:00am on Saturday, you can come into Queensland and you will no longer have to do, if you are vaccinated, any quarantine,” said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The Premier noted that as of Wednesday, 88.82 per cent of eligible Queenslanders are now double jabbed, while 91.65 per cent have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

As reported yesterday, the pace of Queensland’s vaccination rollout has slowed significantly, throwing into question whether or not the state would in fact hit its 90 per cent vaccination target in the coming days, as planned.

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The Queensland government has long stipulated that it would ease restrictions on domestic and international arrivals into the state once the 90 per cent target is met, however, last week announced that domestic travellers into Queensland would no longer be required to test prior to entering the state, nor be fully vaccinated.

Premier Palaszczuk stated that the decision to ease the international restrictions prior to reaching the 90 per cent vaccination target was made in confidence.

“We do believe that now is the right time, with our vaccination rates so high.

“We want to give some certainty to the industry, and certainty to the people who are travelling,” she added.

However, the Premier urged residents on the Gold Coast to book in their vaccines if they haven’t already, given the relatively low vaccination uptake there compared to other parts of Queensland.

“People are going to be [flying] into Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Cairns,” she said.

Previous estimates suggested that Queensland will hit its 90 per cent target on Monday, 24 January, however dwindling vaccination figures and a downwards trend for daily numbers already saw this date slide from 21 January and suggested the date could continue to slide.

Infectious disease specialist Dr Paul Griffin from the University of Queensland flagged that “there definitely is” a risk that Queensland may never hit its 90 per cent target, meaning the state government could be forced to ease its international travel restrictions without hitting the magic number.

However, Deputy Premier Steven Miles remains quietly confident that Queensland will hit the target, following a drop-off in vaccinations over the holiday period.

Miles said the goal is to encourage “all of those people who have had their first dose to get the second dose”.

“I suspect some people whose three- or four-week mark fell over the Christmas-New Year holiday period, they might have been away [or] they might not have wanted to get their second dose at that time.”

Comment (1)

  • Tourist

    says:

    Does this mean that tourists can finally come to Australia? Without an exemption?

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