Queensland is unlikely to begin quarantine-free international travel until early 2022, when the state achieves a 90% rate of vaccination, based on the roadmap revealed today by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Although the state's domestic borders will be progressively unlocked at the 70% and 80% milestones – expected to be reached on November 19 and December 17 – overseas travel won't begin to bounce back until the 80% mark.
At this point, fully-vaccinated arrivals will be allowed to spend an as-yet-undefined quarantine period at home, provided they can also show a negative result from a Covid-19 test in the previous 72 hours.
Unvaccinated arrivals will still be subject to an international arrivals cap and need to enter 14 days of Government-managed quarantine at their own expense.
It's only when at 90% of the people aged 16 and above have been double-jabbed that Queensland – which will fall sometime in early 2022 – will remove all international entry restrictions and arrival caps, along with the need to quarantine.
At the time of writing, Qantas has slated the return of international flights from Brisbane from December 19 to Los Angeles and Singapore, with other destinations streaming through from early 2022 – although the airline has brought forward its first flights from quarantine-free Sydney to Los Angeles and London to November 1.
Queensland residents who can't wait until 2022 and leave the state to hop onto an overseas flight from Sydney – where international travel will resume without quarantine from November 1 – will still need to spend 14 days in quarantine.
The state's insistence on setting its own 90% reopening benchmark rather than observing the national cabinet's 80% threshold drew fire from Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last month, saying "it would be ridiculous that we would reopen international borders for someone from NSW or Victoria to go to Canada before they could go to Cairns."
Brisbane Airport Corporation has voiced its concern over the state's delayed reopening of international borders, saying that if a fully-vaccinated traveller from Melbourne can come to Queensland and not be required to quarantine once we have reached the 80% vaccinated population milestone, "a fully-vaccinated person from Los Angeles should also be able to come to Queensland and not be required to quarantine."
In a statement issued this afternoon, BAC said it was "deeply concerned that this will see international airlines exit the Queensland market for interstate destinations where they can operate without the profit-killing impost of passenger caps."
"It would be an absolute tragedy, as it would take several years and significant investment to try and recover these airlines and services."