Queenslanders could be banned from overseas travel for up to a YEAR thanks to state’s lagging Covid vaccine rollout
- Queensland’s vaccination drive on Saturday administered only 11,574 first doses
- State must deliver 30,284 first jabs a day this week to stay on track for targets
- Queensland is likely not to hit the 90 per cent double-dose mark until January
- Flight Centre boss said it may even be 12 months before Qantas commits to state
Queenslanders could be banned from travelling overseas for another year because of the state’s lagging Covid vaccination rate, a top travel boss has warned.
The state needs to deliver 30,284 first doses each day from October 25 to October 29 to stay on track for its roadmap vaccination targets – which includes opening quarantine-free travel to international travellers at the 90 per cent double dose mark.
But only 11,574 Queensland residents rolled up their sleeves for a first jab during a state-wide ‘Super Saturday’ vaccination drive this weekend, and on that pace the state will fall behind its roadmap targets and the start date for quarantine-free return from travel will be pushed back.
Thirteen-year-old Emily Connor receives a Covid-19 vaccine at a Bunnings hardware store in Brisbane on October 16. A top travel boss has warned Queenslanders could be banned from travelling overseas for another year because of slow Covid vaccination rates
On current jab rate, the state will likely have to wait until January to reach the 90 per cent double-dose mark that triggers the restored freedoms, according to a new data analysis by The Courier-Mail.
The Brisbane-based CEO of Australia’s largest travel retailer said it may take even longer to reach that coverage rate if the vaccination rate remains slow.
‘Queensland may not get to 90 per cent for six to 12 months,’ Flight Centre Managing Director Graham ‘Skroo’ Turner said.
‘Airlines like Qantas are not going to fly into Queensland without certainty, so it could be six to 12 months before Qantas comes back.’
The slow vaccination rate almost certainly means the approximately 15,000 Queenslanders overseas wanting to return home for Christmas will still need to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel.
Mr Turner said the time may come when Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk may have to follow Western Australia and Victoria in mandating vaccinations for large parts of the workforce.
Queensland will likely have to wait until January to reach the 90 per cent double-dose mark, according to a new data analysis. A staff member is pictured working at a mass vaccination hub at the South Bank in Brisbane
International passengers arrive at Brisbane Airport. The slow vaccination rate almost certainly means the approximately 15,000 Queenslanders overseas wanting to return home for Christmas will need to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel
‘In the end these communities have to accept that many of their vulnerable people could die if not vaccinated,’ he said.
The warning comes as lockdown-weary Australians from other parts of the country rush to book up Queensland’s top holiday destinations for the Christmas break.
Hamilton Island is almost completely booked out over December and January after the Queensland Government finally threw open its borders to travellers again.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has yet to follow Western Australia and Victoria in mandating Covid vaccinations for large parts of the workforce
Lockdown-weary Australians desperate for a break from housebound humdrum are snapping up every last summer holiday booking on the Great Barrier Reef (Pictured a holidaymaker gazing out at the Whitsundays)
The school holidays rush was prompted by the state announcing restrictions would relax entirely for fully vaccinated Christmas travellers.
From November 19, unless you are coming from a hotspot, vaccinated travellers will be able to enter Queensland without quarantining.
And from December 17, even those from hotspots will be able to enter the state so long as they are vaccinated and test negative in the 72 hours before arriving.
‘We had a surge of bookings from New South Wales after the announcement on Queensland’s border re-opening,’ Hamilton Island chief executive Glenn Bourke said.
‘With international tourism restricted, Australians have fallen back in love with our own backyard and there’s no backyard quite like Hamilton Island.’