Queensland authorities will investigate “a loophole” in the demand for COVID testing that could allow people to travel to hotspots and return to Queensland without being tested intergovernmental.
Acting Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken said the test rules when state borders open to COVID-19 hotspots would be reconsidered after he confirmed Queensland had not registered new cases.
According to the state’s COVID roadmap, when 80 percent of the state’s population over 16 is double-dose vaccinated, Queenslanders will be able to visit hotspots and return without quarantine, provided they have tested negative in the 72 hours before they entering the state.
Dr. Aitken said a loophole in the rules meant Queensland residents could be tested before leaving, then visit a hotspot and return without being tested in the hotspot visited.
“I think it’s a loophole that we’ll look at,” he said.
“That is certainly not the intention [of the rule].
“The intention is for people to get a test in the area they have been exposed to.
“That’s what we want the Queenslanders to do, and I think that’s what the Queenslanders want to do – it makes sense to get a test after they’re revealed.”
But Dr. Aitken acknowledged that there would be people who take advantage of the loophole.
“There are people out there who also want speed on our roads, but this is there to protect Queensland, and we trust the Queenslanders are doing the right thing,” he said.
He said Queensland Health would look into the “loophole”.
Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk also announced that Gold Coast expert in infectious diseases John Gerrard would become the state’s new head of health from the middle of next month.
Intergovernmental test requirement to remain up to 90pc double dose
Ms. Palaszczuk insisted on the state government’s requirement that all travelers returning from hotspots must have a PCR test within 72 hours – even though it costs $ 150 per person. test for anyone who had no COVID symptoms.
The premiere said the policy would likely remain “until we reach the 90 percent double dose”.
“They are also required in other states, it’s not just Queensland,” she said.
“We do not apologize for keeping Queenslanders safe, it’s the same thing that is required in other states, this is not only unique to Queensland.
“We’re in a unique situation here, we’ve had zero cases for many, many days now, we’re getting our vaccination rates up, it’s one of the first times we’ve done this anywhere in the world and the Queenslanders want to be kept safe.
“This is a measure that has been implemented and will remain in place on the advice of our Chief Health Officer.
“We have announced our plan and the plan continues.”
The premiere was then asked whether the requirement to pay for a PCR test would exclude frontier zone communities wishing to take day trips for recreation.
“I will investigate it, but probably not at this time,” she said.
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