Well well well. After weeks of gumming up other states’ testing systems, Queensland has dropped the negative PCR test entry requirement. It sounded like a good idea at the time, but it obviously hasn’t kept the plague out of the state.
From January 1 all that will be needed to get into Queensland is a negative Rapid Antigen Test, rather than a lab-processed PCR result within 72 hours of your planned border crossing. Which presents another problem: where the fuck to find the RATs. I’ve got four I’m yet to use, so if you want one feel free to send me your best offers.
AND GOOD NEWS! Because we’re 72 hours from Jan 1, that means anyone planning to go into Queensland once the new year ticks over won’t need to bother getting a PCR test. If you’re in a line, leave it.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has told people in NSW not to line up to get a test to get into the sunshine state from today. South Australia will no longer allow those travelling interstate to get a test.
Queensland Premier Annastacisa Palaszczuk made the announcement on Wednesday morning. Yesterday, the requirement to get a PCR test on day five of a trip into the state was also axed.
From January 1, travellers into Qld from interstate hotspots can use a negative Rapid Antigen Test to satisfy border pass requirements. A PCR test will no longer be required. More details in our morning media conference.
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) December 28, 2021
The point of the rule was to keep COVID out, but seeing as Queensland has joined the 1k cases club it seems a little bit superfluous now, hey?
The entry requirement worked well for about a week before Omicron showed up — now that the case numbers are skyrocketing in NSW, Queensland and Victoria, the burden on testing has increased.
NSW has been very cross with Queensland over the rule — Hazzard yesterday slammed his northern neighbour and blamed it for testing delays.
He said Annastascia was displaying “passive aggressive stupidity”. Oof.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet stuck the boot in today, too.
“PCR tests should be reserved for close contacts and those feeling unwell — not healthy tourists looking forward to a well earned summer holiday,” he tweeted
This is a good move.
PCR tests should be reserved for close contacts and those feeling unwell – not healthy tourists looking forward to a well earned summer holiday. https://t.co/6h56N9HPg9
— Dom Perrottet (@Dom_Perrottet) December 28, 2021
At this point I should probably note that the huge numbers of people getting sick would probably be causing some delays, not just the Queensland entry requirement. Other states have the rule too. But at this point prioritising actually sick people seems quite reasonable.
The requirement was essentially not being enforced anyway — while it was technically required and police could chuck you in hotel quarantine if they wanted to (yes really), Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said due most people waiting longer than 72 hours for a result, they could just apply for the border pass anyway and risk the discretion of the cops at the border.
— Ben Smee (@BenSmee) December 28, 2021
Cool, I guess.