The holiday plans of thousands of Queenslanders hoping to reunite with family and friends in NSW and Victoria have been thrown into doubt amid revelations if they become infected with COVID they will be barred from returning home for weeks.
The rules will also bar entry to any southerners hoping to get into Queensland if they have had COVID-19 and are still returning a positive result, despite no longer being infectious.
When Queensland hits its 80 per cent fully vaccinated target, which could be as early as December 6, people who have been in a hotspot in the past 14 days can travel to Queensland without quarantining, if they are fully vaccinated and have a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before arrival.
The roadmap means many Queenslanders can finally leave the state for a business trip or holiday from next month without being forced into 14 days of hotel or home quarantine upon their return.
But Brisbane Times can reveal if a traveller tests positive while interstate, they will first be required to follow the rules for positive patients in that state, which in NSW involves self-isolation at home until medically cleared, and in Victoria quarantining at home for 10 days.
They will then be denied entry to Queensland until they test negative on a COVID-19 PCR test, or until the state hits its 90 per cent double-vaccinated target when there will be no entry requirements for fully vaccinated people, which could happen in “early January”.
Griffith University infectious diseases expert Nigel McMillan said typically infection could last up to 10 days for unvaccinated people, but there were rare cases of patients testing positive for longer.
“So if you PCR test positive on day one, as you’re very early in the infection, it could be seven to 10 days before you clear that virus out,” he said.
“If you’re vaccinated you’d expect that to be three to five days.”