Qld eases border rules despite COVID surge

·3-min read

Queensland is preparing to ease border testing restrictions, despite new COVID-19 case numbers in the state surging to 3118 for the final day of 2021.

Active infections rose to 11,697 after 35,215 people underwent testing in the most recent 24-hour reporting period.

Despite the rapidly rising case rate, only one patient - a man in his 50s - is in intensive care.

Authorities say the man is double-vaccinated but still contracted the Delta strain of the virus.

His condition is stable, and he is not on a ventilator, Chief Health Officer John Gerrard said on Friday.

"It reminds us that even if you're vaccinated, it is possible to get quite sick with COVID-19," Dr Gerrard said.

"It does happen - we've known this all along."

From 11.59pm on New Year's Eve, travellers with a negative rapid antigen or PCR test will be given the green light to cross the border.

Travellers will still need to complete a border declaration confirming they have received a negative result.

Anyone caught making false declarations faces a heavy fine.

Announcing Friday's figures, the chief health officer warned infection rates would continue to rise, with another viral wave predicted.

"We are likely to see a substantial wave earlier than we projected," Dr Gerrard said.

"Most of us expected this to occur maybe May-June when it was getting cooler, so maybe that's what will bring the whole event a little bit further forward.

"Whether we'll have further waves of infection - that's what we don't know.

"Will it be another wave in the winter? That's what we don't know - if there's another strain."

Dr Gerrard said the queues of people at Queensland testing centres have eased slightly.

As revellers count down to farewell 2021, people feeling unwell were urged stay at home - no matter how mild their symptoms.

"If you have any respiratory symptoms, there is a good chance that it's going to be COVID at this point," Dr Gerrard said.

"You should stay at home this new year if you are sick."

Police Minister Mark Ryan said Queenslanders were "well-armed" for the fight against the pandemic.

"Not only has Queensland done so well responding to the risk of COVID-19, but they have the weapons in their arsenal to respond to COVID-19," he said.

Mr Ryan urged the community to continue to take preventative measures against infection.

"I wanted to remind Queenslanders of those weapons - wearing a mask, practising personal hygiene, keeping your distance, following the health directives, and getting tested and staying home if you're sick," he said.

"If you continue to use all those weapons in your arsenal, you'll keep yourself safe, your family and friends in your community safe."

Queensland on Friday edged up to 90.7 per cent of people having received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to federal government data.

The number of fully vaccinated eligible Queensland residents aged over 16, rose slightly to 86.6 per cent.

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