Huge change to Covid-19 testing in Queensland as the state records 1158 new cases – but no one in ICU
- Queensland recorded 1.158 new cases of Covid on Tuesday, 257 of Omicron
- The state will drop the requirement for tourists to have a PCR test on day five
- Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said second test was now ‘unnecessary’
Queensland has posted 1,158 new cases of Covid as the requirement for visitors to undergo a day five PCR test was dropped.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said 257 of the new cases were the Omicron variant, with six cases in hospital. No patients are in ICU.
‘So far we are not seeing large numbers of patients being admitted to hospital despite significant transmission in Queensland,’ Chief Health Officer Dr John Gerrard said.
Dr Gerrard said the extremely low number of positive tests on the second day five test for travellers to the state made the second test now ‘unnecessary’.
‘It’s not contributing any way to the safety of Queenslanders and that resource can be used better elsewhere,’ Dr Gerrard said.
Ms D’Ath advised travellers to tick the box on the border pass application about day five tests for the next couple of days until the documents can be updated online.
She said the day five test was only picking up one in 10 positive results.
The requirement of a second PCR test for tourists on day five of their trip to Queensland has been dropped
The state has come under enormous pressure to drop its requirement of a negative PCR test for interstate travellers from ‘hotspots’ such as NSW, Victoria and the ACT within 72 hours of arrival at the border to be permitted entry to the state.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the policy was being reviewed, with rapid antigen tests expected to be used to ‘screen’ interstate visitors from January 1.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard claimed as one of the main reasons for the long queues at testing facilities in Sydney, with a number of clinics forced to close yesterday due to overwhelming numbers.
‘This is passive aggressive stupidity from the Queensland Premier at her worst,’ Mr Hazzard told the Daily Telegraph.
‘Getting rid of PCRs for tourism testing is absolutely critical so there can be a focus on the clinical needs of patients at risk.
‘South Australia has seen the light and someone needs to switch on the lights in the Queensland Premier‘s office.’
Mr Hazzard said the presence of people in the queues being tested for holidays, rather than health reasons, was preventing those were are actually ill with Covid from receiving their results on time.
He said Queensland’s continued insistence on the lab test requirement lacked commonsense, because someone could become positive four days after the test while in the Sunshine State.
He also noted that, ‘from what I’ve heard’, Queensland Police are only randomly checking whether people have had a PCR test at the border.
Last week Ms Palaszczuk disputed the fact that a large number of people in queues at testing clinics were planning to travel to Queensland.
She claimed only 10 per cent of those in NSW queues were coming to Queensland.
Yesterday Ms Palaszczuk revealed more than 400,000 people had now applied to come to Queensland since the state reopened on December 13.
‘No one estimated 400,000 people would apply to come to Queensland,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
‘Queenslanders want it to be a safe environment so these are the precautions we put in place on our roadmap.
‘Everybody knew when they booked a ticket to come here that they would have to adhere by having that PCR test.
‘Now that we’ve had 400,000 border passes, we need to make sure that we are protecting Queenslanders but as the world is moving towards rapid antigen tests, it’s something we are closely looking at.’