COVID-19

Qld scraps testing rule as cases hit 1158

The state had flagged the change was likely just 24 hours ago, with chief health officer Dr John Gerrard advising government just 0.6 per cent of people testing on day five were returning a positive result. The announcement came as the state’s daily caseload hit a new record 1158 on Tuesday. Health Minister Yvette D’Ath on Tuesday said people who had arrived in the state and were currently waiting in line for day five PCR tests could leave immediately. PCR tests will be replaced by the quicker rapid antigen test instead. Strangely, Ms D’Ath still advised people applying for a Queensland border pass to indicate they were willing to complete a day five PCR test – even though they won’t need to perform one – while the system is updated. Ms D’Ath also swatted away suggestions from NSW that Queensland had been obstructive and inflexible in its testing policies, claiming changes were always likely once the state hit 90 per cent double-dose vaccination coverage. Currently, 85.9 per cent of Queenslanders are fully vaccinated.“We have said, first and foremost, we about keeping Queensland safe … and we are doing this in a safe and responsible way via our plan, that has been out there for many weeks now for everyone to know what is required to come into Queensland,” Ms D’Ath said. “We‘ve also said that rules will change when we hit 90 per cent double dose.” “Anything the NSW and Victoria can also do to speak to the Commonwealth and make sure that the (rapid antigen tests) are also available, then we should all be working collaboratively together to achieve that.”The new case figures are a jump from the previous high of 784 set on Monday, with 4479 people in the state currently infected with the virus. Despite the daily rise there are just six people in Queensland hospitals specifically needing treatment for Covid, increasing from four people 24 hour ago.No one is in intensive care with Covid or on ventilation. People still need to return a negative PCR test before they enter Queensland, but now only need to pass a rapid antigen test on day five of their arrival in the state. “Immediately starting from now on – we will be getting information out of social media – but also to our public and private clinics out there … anybody who‘s waiting in lines now for their day five test will not be required (to do so),” Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said.Queensland had earlier come under fire from NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard for its stringent testing regime There were 1479 new cases reported over the Christmas weekend – including 765 on Christmas Day.

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