Australia

Unvaccinated Queenslanders urged to act ahead of state reopening borders

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“Every single Queenslander is going to get exposed to the COVID-19 virus, and we’ll get infected, but if you’re vaccinated, that’s not a problem,” she has warned.

“You’re very unlikely to get unwell, very unlikely you’re going to end up in hospital.”

The government will open up the state in two stages, something that has cash-starved tourism operators thrilled.

From 19 November, fully vaccinated travellers will be allowed in by air, but must home quarantine for two weeks and test negative before arriving.

That changes significantly from 17 December, when fully vaccinated travellers can come by air and road without having to quarantine, although they must still test negative before arrival.

Once Queensland’s vaccination rate reaches 90 per cent there will be no entry restrictions or quarantine requirements for travellers, domestic or international.

Virgin Australia says website traffic surged on Monday after the premier detailed the reopening plan.

The airline recorded a 134 per cent increase in overall bookings. Among the most popular flights booked were those between Brisbane and Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Melbourne, and the Sunshine Coast and Melbourne.

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“Virgin Australia will continue to review our schedule and add flights in line with demand as travel restrictions ease,” the airline said.

But the Brisbane Airport Corporation is worried about Queensland’s rules for international arrivals and fears it will deter airlines from ramping up inbound flights.

Until the state hits its 90 per cent vaccination target, people coming from overseas will still have to spend two weeks in either hotel or home quarantine.

That’s more than what NSW and Victoria require and beyond what’s in the national plan, which allows for uncapped inbound arrivals for vaccinated travellers, without quarantine, once Australia hits 80 per cent of double doses.

“BAC is deeply concerned that this will see international airlines exit the Queensland market for interstate destinations where they can operate without the profit-killing impost of passenger caps,” it said.

“It would be an absolute tragedy, as it would take several years and significant investment to try and recover these airlines and services.

“This simply means Queensland will be uncompetitive from an aviation perspective and will kill demand for visitation.”

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