Stranded Queenslanders will soon be able to apply to come home with the new border pass system set to go live at 5pm on Monday.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed fully vaccinated Queenslanders and interstate travellers will be able to fly into the state and quarantine in a home for 14 days.
It comes after the state surpassed the 70 per cent double dose vaccination rate, now sitting at 70.25 per cent. 81.99 per cent have received just one dose.
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“That’s come in earlier than expected,” the Premier said.
Ms Palaszczuk said it was a good sign that borders could fully open ahead of the planned December 17 date.
“If these rates continue, that is good news because it may even see our date in December, a little bit forward as well,” she said.
“It could come a week earlier, but I don’t want to get people’s hopes up.”
The Premier did criticise the Gold Coast for sitting behind the state’s average vaccination rate while visiting Burleigh Heads this morning.
She called out Coomera, Pimpama, Gaven, Lower Beechmont and Natural Bridge as the worst suburbs.
“We really need to see some of those areas come out and get vaccinated,” she said.
“Make no mistake, this is close to the border and when we get to that 80 per cent double dose, there’s going to be a lot more people coming here and they’re going to be coming here to see their family and friends and to enjoy the Christmas holidays.
“So we need to protect the Gold Coast, so I need more people to come and get vaccinated.”
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said residents and travellers wanting to come into Queensland now would have to meet a range of criteria in order to be granted the ability to quarantine at home.
“It doesn’t have to be just a standalone home, it can be a townhouse or apartment, where you have fresh air access to your door,” she said.
“So you don’t have common walkways or corridors that you have to pass to get to the entrance of your unit.
“You also have to be fully vaccinated, and it has to be two weeks since you had your second dose.
“You had to have received your negative test within the 72 hours prior to flying in, and you must fly in, you cannot arrive by boat at this stage.
“Your residence must be within two hours of the airport you are arriving into.
“If you can fly direct to any airport in Queensland from your interstate departure, then you can home quarantine within that two-hour radius, or, if you can transit through Brisbane on a single flight, then you can home quarantine as well.
“We have also expanded the transport you can use. So you will be able to use your own private vehicle if someone drops off your car to you as long as there is no direct contact you will be able to let use your vehicle.
“Many people who are quarantining with family members, those family members quarantining with you will be able to come and pick you up and take you to your residence.
“But I do want to make it clear, a normal taxi or Uber or rideshare is not available, and it will not meet the criteria.”
Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollchewski said it was important people were clear about the criteria before applying.
“People coming and need to make sure they do meet the requirements of entry to be able to complete home quarantine. If they don’t, they’re not going to get issued with a border pass,” he said.
He warned the system has been automated significantly and documents will have to be uploaded to support the application.
“People can expect that when they arrive into the airports into Queensland that there will be police and they should expect to get checked,” he said.
“Similarly, when people go into home quarantine, the duration of the 14 days they will be subject to ongoing compliance checking.
“And if the compliance checking that we do show that there is a problem, they can expect police to turn up at the door.
“So we are asking everyone that’s coming in under these new arrangements to make sure they understand their obligations before they come, that they properly and fully submit the application and that they comply with our directions as you come into the state and during quarantine.
“It’s important to remember that there are still breaches for failure to do this.”