Qld opens border to hotspots on Dec 13

Fully vaccinated travellers from COVID hotspots will be able to enter Queensland from next Monday.
Fully vaccinated travellers from COVID hotspots will be able to enter Queensland from next Monday.

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 reopening date had been slated for December 17, but it has been brought forward to 1am on December 13 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 December 13 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 means changes for Queensland's NSW border zone, with vaccinated residents travelling only needing a valid pass.

Border passes will be valid for 14 days, but a negative test won't 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.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll warned of lengthy delays for motorists once border restrictions eased, expecting "tens of thousands" to enter the state from Monday.

"We are expecting extensive delays. I need everyone to plan ahead and pack their patience," she said.

Ms Carroll said police would be conducting border checks ranging from random to 100 per cent compliance depending on the time of day, location and traffic flow.

Every vehicle entering the state will be scanned by police.

She said motorists could help ease delays by having a clearly displayed border pass and to travel outside peak hours.

The commissioner reminded motorists who disregard rules they faced fines of $4135.

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 December 17.

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.

Queensland Health later listed four new exposure sites for passengers who flew from Sydney to Cairns on flight JQ950 and areas of the Cairns Domestic Airport on Friday.

Passengers in rows two to six are listed as close contacts.

Remaining passengers are listed as casual contacts.

Cairns Domestic Airport's gate 17 and carousel one are low risk.

Australian Associated Press