Queensland’s borders are now officially open to New Zealand, but Kiwis touching down in the Sunshine State today will still need to go into hotel quarantine.
The news has taken some people by surprise, with many assuming Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s border reopening announcement yesterday would mean kiwis could travel freely to Queensland.
But, the flights coming into the state from New Zealand over the next few days are mixed with people from a number of different countries, which means they will all need to undergo the mandatory 14 day hotel quarantine.
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Queensland Health confirmed in a statement on Saturday that they are working with the New Zealand Government to kick-start the arrival of quarantine-free flights into the state.
However, Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said the first quarantine free flight to arrive in Queensland from New Zealand isn’t due until Wednesday.
“There is a national protocol that Queensland has adopted, which splits people on flights who have only been in safe travel zone countries, versus those who have also been in other countries,” Dr Young said.
“Anyone who travels to Queensland from New Zealand on a quarantine free flight, where every passenger has only been in New Zealand in the past 14 days, will not be required to quarantine on arrival.
“Anyone who doesn’t travel on a quarantine free flight is still subject to 14 days mandatory quarantine.”
Dr Young said the department is working with hospital and health services across the state to determine which travellers from New Zealand currently in hotel quarantine can leave quarantine today.
“Our staff are working quickly on the ground to determine those who arrived in Queensland on a quarantine free flight, so we can let them out of quarantine, provided they return a negative COVID-19 test,” she said.
“Unfortunately, those who didn’t travel on a quarantine free flight will need to complete their 14 days of quarantine, because they’ve mixed with travellers from other countries.”
For the past 88 days, all of Queensland’s COVID-19 cases have been from overseas travellers and detected in hotel quarantine.
“The risk is simply too high to end their quarantine early,” Dr Young said.