Australian State Expects New COVID-19 Wave After Borders Reopen Next Week

By Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia, with a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him at caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au
December 9, 2021 Updated: December 9, 2021

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has said the Queensland government will issue guidelines to help businesses cope with a new wave of COVID-19 cases once the Australian state reopens its domestic borders for fully vaccinated travellers.

“Queensland’s border will reopen from next Monday, 13 December, so families and loved ones can re-unite,” D’Ath said in a statement on Thursday.

“While this will mean a rise in COVID-19 cases, Queensland’s high vaccination rate means we are well prepared.”

D’Ath said the government will provide guidelines for business and industry in the coming days, including on how to manage close contacts in the workplace, and remaining open amid outbreaks.

This comes as the state reached its 80 percent COVID-19 vaccination target less than one week ahead of schedule as it reports that the inoculation rollout is costing around $24 million (US$17 million) per month.

“This is a great day for Queensland,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement on Thursday.

“Very few places in the world have got to this level of protection before a COVID wave arrives. The credit for this belongs to each and every Queenslander.”

Palaszczuk wants the rollout to continue until over “90 percent and beyond” of Queenslanders are vaccinated.

Meanwhile, ahead of the border reopening, the state’s peak body for the business sector said it was keen to see more details from the government, including on how economic trade might be impacted by future outbreaks.

“Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has for months been calling for details on three essential issues to be made available before new vaccine in the workplace rules come into force for some businesses from Friday to allow them to plan their long-term recovery from COVID,” Amanda Rohan, general manager of policy and advocacy for the CCIQ, told The Epoch Times. 

Rohan also wants information on the government’s next vaccine milestone, and when it might be so that businesses can prepare. 

She said CCIQ welcomed the government’s new health direction about public health and social measures linked to vaccination status announced this week, saying it was something the peak body had been advocating for since the new rules were announced a month ago.

Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia, with a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him at caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au