Calls for Qld to ease quarantine rules ahead of Christmas

There is growing pressure on the Queensland government to slash the quarantine period for close contacts as hundreds of people face spending Christmas in isolation.

Queensland currently requires close contacts of confirmed cases to quarantine for 14 days.

That will be cut to seven days from January 1 for people who are double vaccinated but there are calls for that to happen now.


It comes as the list of exposure sites across Queensland continues to grow following the reopening of the state’s borders.

On Wednesday, the state government backtracked on an earlier decision to deem all passengers on two infected flights as close contacts.

A person had flown from Newcastle to Townsville via Brisbane before testing positive to COVID-19.

After backlash, only passengers sitting near the infected person will now have to do two weeks quarantine.

A flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast was also identified as an exposure site after an infected person from Victoria flew into the state on Tuesday.

Passengers across seven rows of Jetstar Flight JQ430 that landed at 9.30am have been deemed to be close contacts and will have to isolate for 14 days.

Infectious Diseases Expert Professor Catherine Bennett says there’s no reason the quarantine period can’t be reduced to seven days now.

“The chances of some being infected but not actually testing positive for a full week or more is incredibly low. So we should be looking at that, being consistent, evidence-based across states and not imposing a longer quarantine than is needed,” Professor Bennet told Nine.

“There might be a very small risk you might miss one person who might test positive after that point but given we have the virus in the community that’s the whole point of living with it.

“We don’t want to have a disincentive for getting tested because people don’t want to have to quarantine for 14 days if they’re a close contact of someone who tested positive.

“We’re better off finding them, testing them making sure they’re ok and letting them go about their business after a week.”

Tourism bosses have revealed the decision to deem all passengers on the two infected flights as close contacts led to a surge in cancellations from interstate travellers.

While the decision was overturned, Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind says the damage was already done.

“We’ve had reports from operators who reported hundreds of cancellations for tours and accommodation,” Mr Gscwhind told 4BC.

“It was a communication fail I have to say and it’s something we have to avoid, you know it was very shortly after we took the step to living with the virus and we had this setback.”