Queensland’s border checkpoints will remain in place until 90 per cent double dose is reached – expected early next year – with travelers over Christmas warned of delays as they cross into the state.
Fully vaccinated travelers entering Queensland by road during the Christmas period will still go through border checkpoints where police warn of delays when dealing with the influx of visitors.
Queensland authorities have confirmed that checkpoints will remain in place until the state has 90 per cent of eligible residents who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“I understand that the police have confirmed that the barricades will be removed when we reach the 90 percent vaccination limit,” Deputy Prime Minister Steven Miles said Friday.
“It’s very difficult to predict the 90 percent threshold. Some jurisdictions have seen an 80 percent drop, so you can’t just use a current day rate.”
Sunshine State is not expected to reach this vaccination milestone until early next year.
Currently, 63.1 percent of Queenslanders over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated, while 77 percent have received at least one dose.
Border checkpoints remain as Queensland gradually begins to reopen its borders to travelers from New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.
When Queensland reaches the 70 percent double dose expected on November 19, fully vaccinated travelers from hotspot areas can re-enter the state with a 14-day home quarantine upon arrival.
On December 17, when 80 percent of eligible Queenslanders are expected to be double-dosed, visitors can travel to the state without quarantine, provided they are fully vaccinated and return a negative test within 72 hours of arrival.
Queensland Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said officers sought to get travelers across the border “as efficiently as possible”, but there will be delays as more than 40,000 vehicles are expected to cross every day.
“We are about 20,000 vehicles a day being intercepted now,” he said Saturday.
“We expect it to more than double. It’s a pretty significant increase. I have confidence that we will get through it.
“Every time we’ve done this, it’s been pretty messy, pretty lumpy, it’s going to change, we’ll see delays, we’ll work through it, and we’ll continue to improve it, eventually.”
Queensland did not register any new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Saturday, but authorities are preparing for infections in the local community when the border begins to reopen, with Deputy Director of Health Dr. James Smith, who said, “Eventually I would expect to see hundreds of cases a day.”
“We expect we will see seeding events, by that I mean people coming in with coronavirus that triggered minor outbreaks,” he said.
“Those outbreaks will be harder to control when there are more outbreaks than we have had in the past. In the past, we have had a small number of cases that we have been able to deal with very intensively.
“It will become more and more difficult as we get more cases. We expect it to become endemic or spread within the community probably by the end of this year.”