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Queensland’s long-awaited reopening roadmap has angered some residents in border communities, who will be forced to undergo regular Covid tests.
Under the plan outlined by premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Monday, families will be reunited before Christmas when the state hits the 80 per cent double-dose vaccine milestone.
It’s estimated the target will be reached on December 17, allowing fully-vaccinated people to enter the state by air or road, without having to quarantine, as long as they provide a negative Covid result within 72 hours of arriving.
Mixed reaction to reopening roadmap
The announcement has been met with mixed reactions following months of hardship and heartache caused by Queensland’s harsh border closures.
While hope is on the horizon for families in border communities who have been separated from loved ones or unable to access medical care, one of the conditions have become a point of contention online.
“Awesome positive news. We can all work with this,” commented one person on post in a Border Closure Update Facebook group.
“I’m counting on this,” another wrote.
Others were more pessimistic, predicting the move will create traffic turmoil during an already chaotic tourism period.
“Imagine the waiting on the border! It will be a nightmare for locals!” one person said.
“Crossings will be far more chaotic come December though, because of these rules which will make life hell for us anyway,” another wrote.
While some were simply sceptical the border will even reopen.
“She can’t be trusted. She will move the goal post several times before then. Don’t hold your breath,” warned one Facebook user.
Another said: “Gotta see it before I believe it! She's changed the goal posts so many times”.
Covid test required to enter Queensland
But it was the requirement to present a negative test from 72 hours before that sparked widespread fury among those who regularly cross the border.
“Waste of time, who wants to be having Covid tests every 3 days to enter, no thanks, take the whole thing away,” one person wrote.
Another accused the Premier of wanting “full control”: "She is making it tough so people won't enter.”
“Us border zone essential workers don't require Covid tests to enter. Business as usual,” reasoned one person.
Premier refuses apologise to those in limbo
The premier ruled out accelerating border passes for those stranded by border closures and refused to apologise for her “tough” rules.
Speaking on Seven's Sunrise program on Tuesday morning, Ms Palaszczuk reiterated the December 17 date.
“You can come in by road and by air then, but not before then,” she said.
She argued those impacted would not receive any privileges because “Queensland is a big place’.
“They would have to travel through multiple towns as the multiple spots along the way. What we have seen with drivers, with our freight drivers is they are the largest number of people who have Covid at the moment. They come in and do multiple stops in Queensland.
“I make no apology for that. It is going to be tough, but they just have to wait a little bit longer and people will be reunited.”
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