Queensland has relaxed some of its testing requirements in order to cross the border as it announced that travelers will only need to show a negative rapid antigen test, instead of a negative PCR test, upon arrival. The new rules will come into place on Saturday, 1 January.
The rapid antigen test, which can return results in just 15 minutes, is able to indicate whether a person has COVID-19 or not far quicker than a PCR test, the results of which can take up to 48 hours.
However, with the recent surges in cases in Victoria and NSW, PCR test results have been taking far longer to come back, in some cases missing the 72-hour window in which they need to be shown in order to fulfil current border requirements.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Twitter that rapid antigen tests could be used to satisfy border pass requirements instead of a PCR test.
PCR testing has recently been a major source of contention between states as thousands of people have been required to get tests solely for the purpose of travel, not because they have symptoms or have been requested to by health authorities.
In particular, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard have been putting pressure on their northern neighbour to scrap the requirements for PRC tests as queues for COVID019 testing clinics stretch on for hours across the state.
11k daily cases recorded in NSW. And this is what a testing line looks like this morning. Wonder how many more with symptoms are being turned away or simply can’t face queues like this. pic.twitter.com/GYHCXRut1u
— David Lipson (@davidlipson) December 28, 2021
Two testing clinics in the ACT have banned those wanting to get tests in order to travel from using their facilities in order to alleviate pressure on the system.
However, Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said yesterday that health authorities in the state were wary of allowing people to use rapid antigen tests as they don’t know how many are available.
There are widespread reports that many health centres and shops offering the tests have run out and they are becoming increasingly difficult to access.
What Are The Rules For Entering Queensland?
The new measures announced today come as Queensland also scrapped the day-five test for those entering the state.
This means that in order to enter Queensland now, travelers from designated COVID-19 hotspots need to be fully vaccinated, provide a negative COVID test result, and apply for a Queensland border pass.
There are still restrictions for those considered close contacts, although this depends on the requirements of the state you are coming from. NSW, for example, has reduced the restrictions on those considered close contacts.
You can read the full list of requirements on the Queensland government website here.