Queensland COVID-19 border bubble with northern NSW being considered amid Byron Bay hostel lockdown, no new local cases recorded



The Queensland government is considering a Gold Coast-Tweed border bubble when the state’s roads reopen to New South Wales next month, but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says a COVID-19 scare in Byron Bay is a concern.Key points:Queensland authorities will examine the Byron COVID case “very carefully” before enacting a border bubblePremier said the case was a reminder people must get vaccinated before the road border reopensShe said she looked forward to “working cooperatively with the federal government”Travel restrictions will ease for people coming from interstate COVID hotspots next month once 80 per cent of Queenslanders over 16 have had two vaccine doses, but there is frustration that testing requirements would be impractical for residents on the state’s southern border.A popular hostel in Byron Bay was locked down due to a COVID-19 case in a young woman from Victoria who tested positive while staying at the hostel.Eighty-four guests and staff that have been identified as close contacts must stay inside the backpackers for the next 48 hours.”We are currently looking at that border bubble but I think as you can see at the moment, my understanding is there’s been some cases [sic] detected in Byron Bay and they’ve actually shut down the backpackers,” the Premier said.”So these are the sort of issues that we need to look at very closely, but yes we are looking at a border bubble.”Queensland COVID-19 snapshotIn the past 24 hours:Locally acquired cases: 0Other sources: 3Tests: 9,465Queensland’s vaccine rollout (percentage of those aged 16+):First dose: 85.3 per centSecond dose: 74.5 per centLatest case information from Queensland Health.Ms Palaszczuk said it was a reminder that people had to prepare themselves for cases of COVID in the state.”What we need is everyone to get vaccinated, the more people that are vaccinated, the less pressure that is going to be put on our hospitals,” she said.”COVID will be coming in and let me just say, you don’t want to get COVID so please, please, please sit down, talk to your GP, talk to your friends who have had the vaccine and please go and get vaccinated.”Queensland has recorded no new locally acquired cases of coronavirus, but three new cases were recorded in hotel quarantine in unvaccinated travellers from Victoria.LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemicCurrently, 85.29 per cent of Queenslanders aged 16 and older have had their first dose of a COVID vaccine and 74.51 per cent have had two.”As you can see we are steadily climbing up to that 90 per cent and we really do need that 90 per cent as quickly as possible,” she said.The negative PCR test required for border crossings is expected to remain in place until Queensland hits the 90 per cent double-dose target of those over 16.The Premier said she expected Queensland to reach that mark by early January. “I am absolutely confident that we are on target and the evidence is in people coming out getting vaccinated.”‘Everybody needs to work together’Tourism Minister Sterling Hinchliffe apologised to any accommodation providers who lost business due to the government’s confusion over who would pay for PCR COVID tests required for people interstate to enter Queensland after the border restrictions ease.The debate came to an end when it was confirmed the existing 50-50 cost sharing between state and federal governments would cover the cost of those tests.”There was certainly some people who were raising concerns that it would cause cancellations … I can understand if there has been some because people have been unsure about timing and what the requirements were. It’s clear now,” he said.”I’m sorry that there’s been confusion, it’s been good that we’ve got this clarified and we can move forward.”Want more local news?We offer tailored front pages for local audiences in each state and territory. Find out how to opt in for more Queensland news.Read moreAsked whether she stood by her suggestion yesterday that the federal government wanted “Queenslanders to get COVID for Christmas”, Ms Palaszczuk declined to repeat it.”I look forward to working cooperatively with the federal government. We have a National Cabinet meeting coming up soon and everybody needs to work together,” she said.Ms Palaszczuk said Health Minister Yvette D’Ath had been sick this week but has had a COVID-19 test and will return to work tomorrow.LoadingWhat you need to know about coronavirus:Loading form…



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