Queensland’s health minister is adamant about a decision to demand hotel quarantine for returning overseas travelers after state borders open to people from interstate COVID-19 hotspots next month.
It comes as Queensland registers another day with no new cases in the state, but new exposure details for a Goondiwindi truck stop have been listed after a truck driver was over at the weekend before testing positive intergovernmental.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has rebuffed criticism that the state’s quarantine plans for international travelers are out of line with other states that have already resumed quarantine-free international travel.
Queensland is closer to reaching its goal of 80 percent vaccination of Queensland residents over 16, at which point quarantine is no longer required for people arriving from interstate hotspots.
International arrivals must be quarantined until the vaccination rate reaches 90 percent.
Mrs D’Ath said she would not be affected.
“Until then, the risk is too great,” she said.
“What other states choose to do to let people in is their prerogative,” she said.
“But while we have this rule, if they have been traveling abroad for the last 14 days and are looking to get to Queensland before the 14 days have passed, they will have to be quarantined somehow.”
Mrs D’Ath said 64.71 per cent of Queenslanders over 16 had been fully vaccinated against the virus and 78.21 per cent had received their first dose of a vaccine.
Victoria and New South Wales, which have a much higher vaccination rate, have scrapped mandatory quarantine requirements for international arrivals.
“The difference between Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria right now is that they have much higher vaccination rates,” Ms D’Ath said.
“30 percent of our population is not double-dosed … so we need to get vaccination rates higher.
“That’s the difference.”
Acting Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken, who maintained the restrictions, was “about managing risk”.
“This means we have fewer people from the high-risk group coming to Queensland and are less likely to have these cases turn up in Queensland, which means less risk to our community and less impact on our hospital system.” he said.
New COVID-19 exposure sites listed
The interstate driver was contagious while in Queensland on October 31 and has since left the state, Queensland Health said in a statement.
Anyone who was at the Goondiwindi BP Truckstop on Cunningham Highway between 10:30 and 11:00 has been asked to be tested for the virus.
Goondiwindi has one of the highest vaccination rates in Queensland.
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