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Queensland to open to NSW, COVID-19 hotspots on 13 December

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The Queensland border will open to interstate COVID-19 hotspots several days early as health authorities prepare for an influx of travellers from next Monday.

The re-opening date had been slated for 17 December, but it has been brought forward to 1am on 13 December to align with projections of when the state will reach a vaccination rate of 80 per cent.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state was predicted to reach the 80 per cent double dose target this week, and the 13 December date was chosen to “provide everyone with certainty”.

“This is going to be a very, very special time of the year,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Monday.

“I know people have said to me personally, some of them haven’t seen their grandkids for the first time.”

At least 87.37 per cent of eligible Queenslanders have received one jab and 78.67 per cent are fully vaccinated.

To enter Queensland once the border opens, travellers from COVID-19 hotspots must be fully vaccinated and show proof of a negative test taken within three days of their arrival.

Those coming from domestic hotspots must also get another COVID-19 test on day five of their arrival, but only have to wait one week from when they receive their second vaccination dose before entering the state.

The target also mean changes for Queensland’s NSW border zone, with vaccinated residents travelling over the border only needing a valid pass.

Border passes will be valid for 14 days, but a negative test wont be required.

“That includes people in Queensland being able to go into the border zone for a day trip or to visit family and friends, they would need a border pass but they only need to be fully vaccinated, they won’t need a PCR test,” Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said.

International arrivals to Queensland must be fully vaccinated and return a negative test within 72 hours of departure, and will also require a test on arrival as well as 14 days in home or hotel quarantine. 

The vaccine mandate dictating who can enter venues remains unchanged and will take effect on 17 December.

Only fully vaccinated people will be able to enter pubs, clubs, cinemas, festivals and theme parks and visit vulnerable settings such as hospitals and aged care accommodation, Ms D’Ath said.

The announcement comes as the state reported three new cases in quarantine on Monday, two from interstate and one from overseas.

By Nick Gibbs in Brisbane

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