Premier refuses to budge on COVID tests for border residents

The Premier has played down hopes residents in the border zone will be exempt from expensive COVID tests to enter Queensland, saying it’s unlikely to happen.

That’s despite health officials signalling only last week that they were considering changes for border residents.

It means once Queensland hits 80 per cent double dose, anyone crossing the border will need to fork out up to $150 dollars for a COVID test every three days.


Speaking on the Gold Coast on Monday, Annastacia Palaszczuk was asked specifically about exemptions for border residents.

“Look I’ll look into that but probably not at this stage,” The Premier told reporters.

On Friday, Acting Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken told a media conference that changes to test rules was something they were “actively looking at” including the possibility of no tests or free tests for border residents.

But it now appears those options are off the table.

The Premier has defended the requirement for a PCR test instead of a cheaper Rapid Antigen test, saying it’s not unique to Queensland.

“They’re also required in other states as well, it’s not just Queensland. If you have a look through the other jurisdictions you’ll find it’s pretty much the same where people are coming from hot spots.”

The test requirement will remain in place until Queensland hits 90 per cent double dose which is expected in early January.

Officials are also looking at closing a loophole that would allow someone to get tested in Queensland, travel interstate for less than 72 hours before returning home.

“It’s certainly not the intent. The intent is certainly for people to have a test in the area they’ve been exposed and that’s what we want Queenslanders to do and I think that’s what Queenslanders will do,” Acting Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken said.

“That’s a sensible thing is to have a test after they’ve been exposed.”

Queensland recorded no new cases on Monday.

The state’s vaccination rate stands at 84.55 per cent first dose and 73.34 per cent second dose with the latest figures to be released on Monday afternoon.