Health Minister regrets confusion over fees for travel testing in Queensland

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Senior members of state government had for days answered questions about such a cost, and whether the state would cover some of them by simply saying that other states also required the tests and that it was a Commonwealth responsibility under Medicare subsidies.

Pressured further Friday, after revealing that she had not spoken to her federal counterpart Greg Hunt for at least three weeks, Mrs D’Ath Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s comments reiterated that the issue had been addressed.

“I think we must move on,” said Mrs. D’Ath. “I just gave you an apology. We have given clarity, the Commonwealth has given clarity. Now let’s get people vaccinated.”

Asked when health guidelines that support the rules would be published, Ms D’Ath said the government had already provided clarity by cementing the date of December 17 instead of linking it to an 80 percent vaccination rate.

“We have pledged that we will give the directions and we will publish the directions at least a week before then, but I hope much sooner than that,” she said.

The next phase of Queensland’s border reopening, which will allow vaccinated people with evidence of a negative COVID-19 test to enter the state without quarantine, could come up to 10 days earlier.

While other states like Tasmania will not require residents who have left the state in less than seven days to provide evidence of a negative test upon their return, Ms D’Ath said Queensland had no plans for such a measure.

Queensland will still require test results until it reaches a 90 percent vaccination rate, expected in January – essentially eliminating short trips between the state and another potential barrier for residents becoming infected while outside state borders.

The state conducted more than 9,000 tests in the 24 hours to Friday morning, and authorities expected to reach a 75 percent full vaccination rate once the latest data is released.

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A total of 4,681 people were in home quarantine on Friday after entering Queensland under the border rules that were relaxed last week.

Ms D’Ath urged people who have not yet been vaccinated to take advantage of pop-up vaccine clinics this weekend in tourist sites and malls, especially on the border Gold Coast.

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