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Masks off as state moves to fast track home quarantine

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Queenslanders are free to take off their masks and vaccinated domestic travellers who fly into Queensland, and have external access to their homes, will be allowed to quarantine at home as soon as 70 per cent of the state’s residents are fully vaccinated.

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The state reached its 80 per cent single dose vaccine target on Wednesday, triggering the relaxation of the mask requirements that have burdened much of Queensland since June.

Masks will only be required to be worn at airports and on planes, with 80.1 per cent of all eligible Queenslanders having had at least one jab.

The end of the mask mandate followed Health Minister Yvette D’Ath’s announcement that home quarantine will be allowed as soon as 70 per cent of eligible Queenslanders are fully vaccinated.

She says anyone living within a two-hour drive of an airport, who has external access to their homes, can home quarantine for 14-days.

D’Ath says applicants must be fully vaccinated, fly into Queensland two weeks after their final dose and have a negative PCR test 72 hours before travel.

“People who meet this criteria will have the certainty to now start booking flights to come back to Queensland,” D’Ath said.

“If you meet this criteria you will be able to fly in from November 19 and it’s possible we will hit the 70 per cent double dose earlier than that.”

D’Ath urged Queenslanders to get fully vaccinated, saying opening up the state to “thousands” of visitors from November 19 would come with a risk.

“This is the right thing to do. It is a balanced, reasonable approach to let people come into Queensland but it does come with a risk,” she said.

“Thousands of people will be able to come into Queensland from November 19 who have been in hot spots.

“This means there is more reason than ever for people to come out and get vaccinated today to get the protection that they need because this virus is going to come into our community.”

Queensland will scrap quarantine for fully-vaccinated domestic travellers who test negative when the state hits the 80 per cent double dose target, or December 17 at the latest.

Once 90 per cent of eligible Queenslanders are vaccinated quarantine will also be scrapped for fully-vaccinated international travellers who test negative.

Queensland recorded three new COVID-19 cases that were infectious in the community on the Gold Coast, in the southern town of Warwick and on a flight from Melbourne.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new cases emerged after 10,870 tests in the 24 hours to 6.30am on Wednesday.

One is a Gold Coaster who lives at Pacific Pines, has had one vaccine dose and has been infectious in the community for up to six days.

“We do not know at this stage where the case from the Gold Coast has come from, so we need to make sure there are no other cases on the Gold Coast,” Palaszczuk told reporters on Wednesday.

“So now I’m saying to Gold Coast residents and families: if you are not vaccinated, go and get vaccinated. If you have any symptoms, please go and get tested.”

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