Covid-19 Australia: Queensland reopens domestic travel with NSW and Victoria


Queensland has reopened its state border to fully-vaccinated NSW and Victoria residents for the first time in months – but with tough quarantine and travel rules.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced visitors would finally be allowed across the border once the state hit the 70 per cent fully-vaccinated milestone.

The premier took to Twitter on Sunday to announce the target had been met. 

‘We just hit 70% double dosed. Keep it up Queenslanders,’ she wrote. 

The reopening of the border comes with tough travel rules with Queensland only accepting arrivals by plane, forcing travellers into 14 days of quarantine and limiting their movements across the state. 

The restrictions will only be eased when 80 per cent of residents have been fully-vaccinated with the target expected to be reached by December 17.

The month-long wait has sparked criticism though, with infectious disease expert Dr Paul Griffin revealing the state could safely reopen by December 6.

Queensland has reopened its state border to fully-vaccinated NSW and Victoria residents for the first time in months – but with tough quarantine and travel rules

The reopening of the border comes with tough travel rules with Queensland only accepting arrivals by plane, forcing travellers into 14 days of quarantine and limiting their movements across the state

The reopening of the border comes with tough travel rules with Queensland only accepting arrivals by plane, forcing travellers into 14 days of quarantine and limiting their movements across the state

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced visitors would finally be allowed across the border once the state hit the 70 per cent fully-vaccinated milestone

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced visitors would finally be allowed across the border once the state hit the 70 per cent fully-vaccinated milestone

‘What’s clear as we move forward, the more people vaccinated in our population, the better off we will be,’ he told Channel Nine’s Today Show on Monday. 

‘We have achieved an important milestone here. It makes sense to ease the restrictions. Which we’re doing in a gradual and sensible way.’

Dr Griffin said the strong uptick in vaccination meant the 80 per cent target was likely to be reached early, which meant residents could enjoy more freedoms sooner. 

‘What is important is what this is about, getting people protected so we can open up safe so we can withstand the virus in our community,’ he said.

‘Everyone who gets vaccinated contributes and will contribute to bringing forward the opening date.’

Queensland closed its border with New South Wales on July 22 as Sydney’s Delta outbreak began to escalate. 

The first big hurdle for eligible southern visitors to get back to Queensland this month is that they must have had their second dose at least 14 days ago, Health Minister Yvette D’Ath confirmed.

That means if your second Covid-19 vaccination happened less than 14 days ago you can’t go to Queensland – even if you are fully vaccinated.  

Trips to the beach, partying with friends and scenic road trips are also out of the question until you’ve gone through a tough 14 day home quarantine stint. 

Those freedoms will be possible right away when the state reaches its next big milestone next month of 80 per cent.

The month-long wait has sparked criticism with infectious disease expert Dr Paul Griffin revealing the state could safely reopen by December 6

The month-long wait has sparked criticism with infectious disease expert Dr Paul Griffin revealing the state could safely reopen by December 6

Queensland is set to re-open to fully vaccinated domestic visitors as early as Sunday - but visiting the beach, partying with mates or a road trip is out of the question for at least two weeks after landing

Queensland is set to re-open to fully vaccinated domestic visitors as early as Sunday – but visiting the beach, partying with mates or a road trip is out of the question for at least two weeks after landing

Sunbaking on a Queensland beach is a rite of passage for most Aussies, but interstate visitors allowed back to the Sunshine State when it hits 70 per cent fully vaxxed won't be allowed to leave their quarantine rooms for two weeks

Sunbaking on a Queensland beach is a rite of passage for most Aussies, but interstate visitors allowed back to the Sunshine State when it hits 70 per cent fully vaxxed won’t be allowed to leave their quarantine rooms for two weeks

The first big hurdle people hoping to visit Queensland this month must face is that they must have had their second Covid-19 jab at least two weeks before flying - any less and they can't go

The first big hurdle people hoping to visit Queensland this month must face is that they must have had their second Covid-19 jab at least two weeks before flying – any less and they can’t go

Fully-vaccinated visitors who qualify must home quarantine for 14 days in appropriate accommodation, within a two-hour drive of where they landed.

They cannot leave quarantine for exercise during that period.

Upon their arrival, travellers driving from the airport must use a private car, a hire car with contactless pick-up, or a lift booked with an endorsed transport provider nominated by Queensland police.

That means no public transport, no courtesy mini-bus to a hostel or ordinary cab.

Any family member or friend who collects you at the airport would have to also self-isolate for 14 days. 

The accommodation must have ‘direct fresh-air access to the front door’ – such as a stand-alone house, townhouse or unit with its own front door.

Rules for visiting Queensland

With 70% of Queensland fully-vaxxed:

– Interstate visitors only allowed

– You must have received a negative test within 3 days of your flight

– You must be fully vaccinated and have had your 2nd Covid-19 vaccination at least 14 days before your flight

– You cannot cross the Queensland border by road 

– You must undergo 14 day ‘home’ quarantine in a dwelling with ‘fresh air to the front door’. Accommodation where you reach your door through shared corridors and lifts is not acceptable

– Your transport to home quarantine must be in an approved vehicle

– You must reply to daily a Queensland Health SMS with geolocation on, within 10 minutes

– You must undergo Covid testing while in quarantine

With 80% of Queensland vaxxed (December 17 or sooner):

– Same as above but:

– You can arrive by road

– Quarantine not required 

 With 90% of Queensland vaccinated (likely to be early 2022):

– International travellers can enter

– Most restrictions ended 

* Unvaccinated travellers must undergo 14 day quarantine at government approved facility until further notice.

You cannot quarantine in a building where the only access to your room is via a shared corridor and shared lifts – including most rooms in big hotels or big apartment blocks. 

Queensland Health requires people in home quarantine to confirm their location each day by geolocation – within 10 minutes of receiving a text message.

They must also be re-tested for Covid-19 during home quarantine – and return a negative test. 

Also, visitors cannot drive in. They must fly in – and only after they have received a negative PCR test at least 72 hours prior to take-off.

Anyone who cannot meet these conditions will need to quarantine in a government-nominated facility under supervision. 

Visitors to Queensland cannot enter by road, only by air - and only if they have received a negative Covid test within 72 hours of flying

Visitors to Queensland cannot enter by road, only by air – and only if they have received a negative Covid test within 72 hours of flying

Ms D’Ath says people in NSW, ACT and Victoria hot spots can ‘start booking flights’ if they meet their criteria after confirming home quarantine eligibility had been expanded.

Even those from Covid hotspots can come – so long as they are eligible. 

‘People who meet this criteria will have the certainty to now start booking flights to come back to Queensland,’ Ms D’Ath said. 

You cannot drive into Queensland until after the state reaches the 80 per cent fully vaccinated milestone.

That is expected to occur by December 17.

Once 90 per cent of eligible Queenslanders are vaccinated quarantine will also be scrapped for fully jabbed international travellers who test negative to Covid. 

Previously, the state government planned to allow home quarantine for fully vaccinated domestic travellers who tested negative from November 19, and only for people in the south-east.

But they expanded it after a successful trial last month.

‘More than 1000 people in eight local government areas in southeast Queensland took part in the trial and their feedback has been very positive,’ Ms D’Ath said.

Visitors to Queensland cannot get out and about for at least a fortnight - but they will have the freedom to go where they choose once the state reaches the milestone of being 80 per cent fully vaccinated

Visitors to Queensland cannot get out and about for at least a fortnight – but they will have the freedom to go where they choose once the state reaches the milestone of being 80 per cent fully vaccinated

‘This trial has helped shape a new approach to home quarantine that will make the process more comfortable and accessible for all returning Queenslanders, not just those in the south-east … (and) eligible domestic travellers also.

‘This is great news for people interstate. It’s a great step forward for Queensland in opening up.’

The health minister urged Queenslanders to get fully vaccinated, saying opening the state to ‘thousands’ of visitors from as early as this weekend would come with a risk.

‘This is the right thing to do. It is a balanced, reasonable approach to let people come into Queensland but it does come with a risk,’ she said.

‘Thousands of people will be able to come into Queensland from… hot spots.

‘This means there is more reason than ever for people to come out and get vaccinated today to get the protection that they need because this virus is going to come into our community.’ 

Queensland Health opted not to make a statement, but confirmed the details of quarantine for vaccinated interstate visitors. 

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