Queensland residents will be able to reunite with loved ones interstate for Christmas with the Premier unveiling the state’s long-awaited roadmap for reopening.
The Sunshine State will reopen borders to fully-vaccinated people from hotspot states and territories and scrap quarantine requirements once the state hits 80 per cent double dose vaccination.
At the current rate, that is expected to happen by December 17.
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People will be required to have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arriving in Queensland.
The Premier has also announced some changes will kick in when Queensland hits 70 per cent double dose.
People who are fully vaccinated will be able to come into Queensland by air from hotspot states, but will still be required to undergo 14 days home quarantine.
Queensland is expected to hit 70 per cent double dose on November 19.
The Premier says if the state reaches its targets before the expected dates, the reopening will be brought forward.
But she has confirmed that the state will reopen by December 17 even if Queensland is not at 80 per cent.
At 70 per cent, overseas arrivals will be allowed back into Queensland if they are fully vaccinated, test negative and do two weeks hotel quarantine.
That will change to home quarantine at 80 per cent vaccination.
Annastacia Palaszczuk has issued a final warning to Queenslanders to get vaccinated.
“If we are going to weather the storm, we can be so prepared for this storm if we get vaccinated now. So I am urging Queenslanders, this is your last opportunity. This is your last chance to get vaccinated,” The Premier said.
“This is really important that we unite Queenslanders but we do it in the safest way. We are going to try to minimise the risk and there are key steps along the path.
“My job as Premier is to keep Queenslanders safe. The way I can help protect you is for you now go and protect yourself by getting vaccinated.”
Deputy Premier Steven Miles has also flagged that those who are unvaccinated will face ongoing restrictions beyond December 17.
“We are also saying that after that 17th of December when we expect to meet the 80 per cent of the eligible population double vaccinated, there will be other freedoms that are only available to people who have been vaccinated,” Mr Miles said.
“We will work with industry and business but we expect that there will be some settings and venues that decide to be vaccinated only, and in return they will have eased restrictions.”
Health Minister Yvette D’ath is confident the state’s hospitals will cope with the impending influx of COVID-19.
“We have modelled and planned for this to occur and manage our health system going forward. Our health system will manage extra people coming into hospitals and ICUs. We know it will because everyone will be exposed to this virus at some point,” Ms D’ath said
“The numbers will climb over coming months and will stay high for a number of months. But how high they get is up to Queenslanders.”
Modelling shows under a worst-case scenario, Queensland could have up to 1200 COVID cases a day after reopening.
But Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young is confident it won’t get that bad.
More to come