Queensland closes quarantine loophole

 

Queensland has taken a tough stance to close the loophole allowing consular staff to bypass COVID-19 quarantine rules.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Tuesday night Queensland will ensure consular and diplomatic staff returning from overseas or from interstate hotspots will go into hotel quarantine.

The Premier said she would like a nationally consistent approach but the State couldn't wait.

She had pledged to take the issue to the national cabinet meeting on Friday.

"Once again, Queensland will go it alone to protect Queenslanders," the Premier said.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said she would act immediately.

"This exemption is a problem. We've seen that in Queensland this week," she said.

"A person was able to arrive in Queensland from overseas on a consular exemption, and he had COVID-19.

"I am very grateful to this person - he did all the right things - but was granted an exemption from hotel quarantine.

 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Steven Miles updating the media on COVID cases. Picture: Annette Dew
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Steven Miles updating the media on COVID cases. Picture: Annette Dew

 

"We can no longer allow this. With the high cases overseas, the risk is simply too high."

The 'consular official' flew into Sydney from Afghanistan, then on to Maroochydore on Jetstar flight JQ790. the man then drove to Toowoomba where he is in home isolation.

'But Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Monday that the man was a private security guard.

Ms Palaszczuk said he had travelled with documents on an official letterhead and was allowed to travel to Queensland without entering quarantine on the approval of NSW.

Dr Young said from Wednesday exemptions to hotel quarantine will only be granted on extremely extenuating circumstances, in line with current arrangements for anyone entering Queensland from overseas or a hotspot.

Originally published as Queensland closes quarantine loophole



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