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Queensland's hard border comes down

Updated December 12 2021 - 11:26pm, first published 9:00pm
Tens of thousands of people are heading for Queensland by air and road on Monday.

Tens of thousands of people are heading to Queensland by air and road after the state opened its border to vaccinated Australians, almost 230 days after locking out most of the country.

At 1am local time on Monday, the sunshine state dropped entry restrictions for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and can show they've had a negative PCR test before beginning their journey.

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The border easing comes after Queensland hit its 80 per cent double dose vaccination milestone last week, allowing interstate travellers to head north in time for the festive season in a much-needed boost for local tourism.

Qantas and Jetstar expect to carry 10,000 passengers on flights to and from the state on Monday, with most of the day's flights fully booked.

One of the first planes to touch down will be Jetstar flight JQ400, which will arrive on the Gold Coast at 6.25am local time, closely followed by QF504 into Brisbane at 7.25am.

The two airlines will this week operate around 700 flights to and from Queensland across 28 routes from Victoria and New South Wales, well up on last week's 100 or so flights when the border was still closed.

As Christmas nears, they expect to put on to 1200 weekly flights to and from the state.

"We know how difficult the border closures have been for many people and today will no doubt be emotional, particularly for family and friends who can reunite after months apart," Jetstar Group CEO Gareth Evans said on Monday.

Queensland Police will be watching the roads into the state with a huge number of vehicles expected to cross the border with NSW.

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District Acting Chief Superintendent Rhys Wildman said last week officers had been preparing for this moment for some time and will conduct compliance and border pass checks.

Border residents with 'XV' travel passes should expect stops from officers, Supt Wildman added, but those without should be prepared for officers looking to make sure they have the required documentation.

Meanwhile, Queensland authorities issued a fresh COVID-19 alert overnight for venues in Sunnybank and Eight Mile Plains near Brisbane that were visited on Thursday by a person carrying the infection.

The COVID-19 infection tally for the state stands at 46 active cases.

On Sunday, Queensland recorded one new case of COVID-19 involving a traveller who arrived from Nigeria, but no new locally acquired cases.

Some 81.2 per cent of Queenslanders aged 16 and over are now double-dosed against the coronavirus, and 88.3 per cent have had their first vaccination.

- Australian Associated Press

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