Queensland COVID-19 border bubble with northern NSW under consideration amid Byron Bay hostel lockdown, no new local cases detected

The Queensland government is considering a Gold Coast-Tweed border bubble when the state’s roads reopen to New South Wales next month, but Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk says a COVID-19 scare in Byron Bay is a concern.

Travel restrictions will ease for people coming from interstate COVID hotspots next month when 80 percent of Queenslanders over 16 have been given two vaccine doses, but there is frustration that test requirements would be impractical for residents on the state’s southern border.

A popular hostel in Byron Bay was locked down due to a case of COVID-19 in a young woman from Victoria, who tested positive while staying at the hostel.

Eighty-four guests and staff who have been identified as close contacts must stay inside the backpackers for the next 48 hours.

“We are currently looking at that boundary bubble, but I think as you can see at the moment, I understand that there have been some cases [sic] discovered in Byron Bay and they have actually shut the backpackers down, “the prime minister said.

“So those are the kinds of issues that we need to look at very closely, but yes, we’re looking at a boundary bubble.”

Ms Palaszczuk said it was a reminder that people should prepare for cases of COVID in the state.

“What we need is for everyone to be vaccinated, the more people are vaccinated, the less pressure will be put on our hospitals,” she said.

“COVID will come in and let me just say you do not want to get COVID, so please sit down, talk to your GP, talk to your friends who have received the vaccine, and please go out and get vaccinated . “

Queensland has not registered new locally acquired cases of coronavirus, but three new cases were registered in hotel quarantine with unvaccinated travelers from Victoria.

Currently, 85.29 percent of Queensland residents aged 16 and older have received their first dose of a COVID vaccine, and 74.51 percent have received two.

“As you can see, we are steadily climbing up to the 90 percent and we really need the 90 percent as quickly as possible,” she said.

The negative PCR test required for border crossings is expected to remain in place until Queensland reaches the 90 percent double dose target for those over 16 years of age.

The prime minister said she expected Queensland to reach this mark in early January.

“I am absolutely convinced that we are on target and the evidence is that people are coming out and getting vaccinated.”

‘Everyone must work together’

Tourism Minister Sterling Hinchliffe apologized to all accommodation providers who lost business due to the government’s confusion over who would pay for PCR COVID tests required for people to enter Queensland interstate after border restrictions were eased.

The debate ended when it was confirmed that the existing 50-50 cost sharing between state and federal governments would cover the cost of these tests.

“There were definitely some people who raised concerns that it would cause cancellations … I can understand if there have been any because people have been unsure at the time and what the requirements were. It’s clear now,” he said. he.

“I’m sorry there has been confusion, it’s been good that we’ve got it clarified and we can move on.”

Asked if she stood by her proposal yesterday that the federal government wanted “Queen residents to get COVID for Christmas”, Palaszczuk refused to repeat it.

“I look forward to working with the federal government. We have a national cabinet meeting soon and everyone needs to work together,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said Health Minister Yvette D’Ath had been ill this week but has been given a COVID-19 test and will return to work tomorrow.

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