Massive Change to QLD Border Rule
By Vanessa Brown
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has scrapped Rapid Antigen Tests and border pass requirements for anyone planning to domestically enter the state by land or air.
Speaking to media on Thursday, Ms Palaszczuk announced that from 1am on Saturday, “the borders will be coming down” and “anyone” coming domestically into Queensland, either by our road or by air, will no longer have to show that they have a border pass or a negative Rapid Antigen Test.
Ms Palaszczuk said the “big decision” was made in line with the state inching towards the 90 per cent double dose vaccination, which the state expects to hit by the end of next week.
“The changes to the border passes from 1am on Saturday reflects the change of cases across Australia,” Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said.
“It was important throughout 2021 that we controlled those people coming from hotspot [areas] and have restrictions around that …[but] that is becoming less important by the day because this virus could be in any jurisdiction with anyone travelling, whether they are coming from hot spot or not.
“We don’t want to spend our time looking at whether we need to be declaring and changing hot spots. We should assume that anyone travelling around Australia domestically could have the virus and so it is a lot less important to worry about where people are coming from around Australia and much more important about where they are going.”
Police commissioner Katarina Carroll added that the removal of the border checkpoints would now allow police resources to focus on the upcoming Covid peak.
“Since the establishment of the first border checkpoint in March 2020, this has been a significant operation for the Queensland Police service,” Carroll said.
“Protecting our borders have been incredibly important in preventing the spread of Covid-19. The evidence clearly shows you that when we shut the borders, we actually shut the spread.
“This change from 1am … will enable us to reprioritise, get back to business as usual and make sure the now we prepare for the peak over the next couple of weeks.”
The premier said in terms of international travel, the state government will wait until the 90 per cent double vaccination is reached.
The major announcement comes as Queensland recorded 14,914 new infections of Covid-19 and six further deaths.
Ms Palaszczuk revealed her “shock” at the state’s Covid case figure and death count, which is the state’s deadliest day of the pandemic so far.
The premier said there are currently 26 patients in intensive care – 10 on ventilators – with more than 500 patients in hospital.
“To lose six in one day is a big shock,” the premier said, adding it was “a very, very sad day” for Queensland.
“I think this would be a very difficult time for families at the moment.”