The New South Wales Health Minister has launched a scathing attack on Queensland’s Premier over her refusal to ease testing rules for people to travel to the Sunshine State.
The requirement to have a negative PCR test 72 hours before travelling to Queensland is contributing to massive delays at testing clinics across the country, most notably in New South Wales.
It’s also leading to long delays in getting results with some people waiting five days or more.
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New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard is urging Annastacia Palaszczuk to show some commonsense and scrap the PCR test requirement immediately.
“This is passive aggressive stupidity from the Queensland Premier at her worst. Getting rid of PCRs for tourism testing is absolutely critical so there can be a focus on the clinical needs of patients at risk,” Mr Hazzard told The Daily Telegraph.
“South Australia has seen the light and someone needs to switch on the lights in the Queensland Premier‘s office.”
Queensland is standing firm on its requirement for PCR tests to enter the state but is considering rapid antigen tests from the New Year.
It is also looking at scrapping the day five test for travellers or accepting a rapid antigen test instead.
A decision is expected in the next 24 hours.
Queensland is also boosting resources at state clinics to try and deal with long testing queues.
Waits of up to six hours were reported at clinics on the Gold Coast on Monday while hundreds of others were turned away.
Rob Blunt is visiting the Gold Coast from New South Wales and says he’s been struggling to get his day five test.
“We sat in the queue for about an hour and a quarter and then they started coming down the line and saying ‘sorry you’re just not going to get there, we close soon so you’ll have to go home and come back again.”
Tourism bosses are concerned at growing reports people are abandoning their Queensland holidays because of the state’s testing rules.
“The ongoing uncertainty, the different rules are confusing to people and many people probably don’t want to take the risk of missing their flight because the test results are not ready in time or being inconvenienced by long wait times,’ Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind said.
“There has to be a better solution for the testing. Either we have to massively increase the capacity around the country to have these tests done or we have to go to the rapid antigen tests.”