Unvaccinated Queenslanders urged to act ahead of state reopening borders

Authorities say unvaccinated Queenslanders must act now if they want to be protected against COVID-19 when borders reopen.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young is urging Queenslanders to get vaccinated.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young is urging Queenslanders to get vaccinated. Source: AAP

Unvaccinated Queenslanders have been warned to act quickly if they want to be protected from COVID-19 when Queensland reopens its borders.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young says it's unavoidable the virus will be everywhere once travel rules normalise.

She has implored Queenslanders to get their first jab in the next 12 days. That will give them enough time to have their second shot and develop full protection before they are surrounded by the virus.

"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.

"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."

Published 20 October 2021 at 5:51am, updated 20 October 2021 at 8:33am
Source: AAP - SBS