Australian State to Relax Quarantine for Vaccinated Virus Contacts

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 10, 2021 Updated: December 10, 2021

The Queensland government has announced that it will slash quarantine requirements for vaccinated people identified as close contacts of active COVID-19 cases.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said that from Jan. 1, fully vaccinated household contacts won’t have to quarantine but will need to get tested on day one and five, wear a protective mask outdoors, and not visit high-risk settings like hospitals, aged care facilities, and correctional facilities.

“We know there is still a risk from day eight to 14 but what we know is that risk is reduced when you are fully vaccinated,” D’Ath told reporters on Saturday morning.

Causal contacts must test immediately and isolate until they get a negative result, which will allow them to end isolation, but she said they will be encouraged but not required to wear a mask for 14 days.

Businesses visited by active COVID-19 cases will no longer have to shut for deep cleaning from Jan. 1 but will still need to shut for a normal clean.

“So if it’s a restaurant, they’ve just found out, or cafe, they’ve just found out they’re an exposure site, they may stay closed for lunch so that they can do a clean of the tables and chairs and a good wipe down of the facility and open up for dinner again,” D’Ath said.

“It doesn’t need to be an expensive, lengthy deep clean anymore because we know more about Delta and we know that it’s much more likely to be transmitted through aerosols, as opposed to what we call fomites touching surfaces.”

The state’s business sector had been calling for clearer guidelines on how trade will be affected once Queensland reopens its borders to other states on Monday, after which the virus is expected to spread throughout the state.

The health minister said the restrictions announced Saturday would be less stringent than the current 14-day isolation for close contacts.

They are modelled on South Australia’s rules, she said, so they align both states which haven’t had major virus outbreaks, and at this stage, are the “right mix.”

The announcement comes as Queensland recorded one new locally-acquired COVID-19 case; a Gold Coast woman who was already under investigation on Friday, with no other infections detected among 9,249 tests in the 24 hours to 6.30 a.m. on Saturday.

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