Kiwi visitors from South Island free from Qld quarantine

Queensland will look at scrapping quarantine for international travellers entering the state from green zones after it reopened to flights from New Zealand’s South Island.

Oct 20, 2021, updated Oct 20, 2021

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said there was no evidence the ongoing outbreak in Auckland on the North Island had spread south so it was safe to welcome travellers again without making them quarantine on arrival.

“So any of you who have relatives there will be able to travel without quarantining, as they have got an outbreak in Auckland that’s been going for quite a while now, but there’s been no transmission to the South Island,” she told reporters on Wednesday.

“As long as you don’t go into the North Island in the 14 days before you travel to Queensland, you’ll be able to travel directly to Queensland.”

The chief health officer said that other international travellers would still be ordered into mandatory 14-day quarantine until 90 per cent of Queenslanders were fully vaccinated.

However, she said Queensland would consider dropping quarantine requirements for any countries or regions classified as COVID-19 green zones by the Commonwealth, as the South Island had been.

“So we assess that all the time, and the Commonwealth is responsible for doing that,” Dr Young said.

“So the Commonwealth is assessing countries around the world all the time. And once they assess the risks as being less as they did with the South Island of New Zealand, then of course we’ll work that through and assess those risks for Queensland.”

Meanwhile, Young confirmed that fully vaccinated people would still have to go into 14 days’ self-isolation if they tested positive for COVID-19 under the state’s reopening roadmap.

However, they would be able to isolate at home rather than being transferred to hospital, which is the current process. Any primary household contacts would also have to isolate.

“We’ll assess the home, we’ll assess the other people who are in that home and what the risks are, and they’ll probably be able to be managed in one of our virtual wards to make sure that they’re OK,” Young said.

“Everyone else in that home will then be, of course, a primary contact, and they’ll have to quarantine for 14 days, but the risk of getting infected with COVID-19 if you’re fully vaccinated is much less.

“So the inconvenience of having to isolate and your family having to quarantine is much, much less if you’re vaccinated.”

The government on Monday released its plan to reopen the borders to interstate visitors in time for Christmas.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said work was under way on a second roadmap that would explain how life would differ for those who were vaccinated and those who were not.

The government will open up the state in three stages, with the first stage to allow fully vaccinated people who test negative to do home quarantine when 70 per cent of eligible Queenslanders over 16 are fully vaccinated on November 19.

On December 17, or earlier if Queensland hits 80 per cent fully vaccinated before then, fully vaccinated travellers can come without having to quarantine, although they must still return a negative PCR test before arrival.

At 90 per cent, the state will scrap quarantine for all fully vaccinated overseas arrivals.

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