The Queensland government has denied it ever planned to make domestic travellers require a Covid PCR test certificate on arrival in the state.
Queensland will scrap quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers who provide a negative PCR test from hotspots once 80% of Queenslanders are double-dosed.
The federal health minister, Greg Hunt, confirmed on Tuesday night the cost of the PCR tests will be covered by the commonwealth and departure states.
His confirmation came after an almost week-long feud with the Queensland government over who would fork out for the tests.
Hunt says the only reason test funding was in doubt was because Queensland required a PCR test certificate.
“It was put under some doubt from the Queensland premier,” he told Nine’s Today program on Wednesday morning.
“We have a suspicion it may have been an accident, but I am pleased that the existing arrangements are there.”
However, the Queensland government denied it had ever planned to require a certificate, rather than an SMS.
“At no point did we say a PCR test certificate was required for travellers arriving from domestic hotspots,” a Queensland government official told AAP on Wednesday.
Comment has been sought from Hunt’s office about his claim that Queensland was planning to require a certificate.
Queensland’s deputy police commissioner Steve Gollschewski last week confirmed text messages would be acceptable.
However, some state government websites said texted test results would need to include a traveller’s name and date of birth.
Those personal details are generally not provided in texts from state testing hubs.
The feud continued until Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed a text message would be sufficient.
“We’re looking at that, to have a text message, that’d be fine,” she told reporters on Tuesday.
Queensland’s tourism minister Stirling Hinchliffe later issued a statement confirming text messages were acceptable.
Hunt then clarified that tests, without certificates, would continue to be free for domestic travellers.
“The only thing that has changed is that after accepting text confirmation for 18 months and then rejecting it for 24 hours, Queensland is now accepting the same text messages again, dropping their demand for a certificate,” he said in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday night.
A federal government official told AAP that while the Queensland government had not demanded a test certificate, they had never clarified they did not need one.
The latest figures show 85% of eligible Queenslanders have had one vaccine dose, with 74% fully vaccinated.
Palaszczuk also admitted on Tuesday the 72-hour PCR test limit would rule out overnight or short trips interstate for most Queenslanders.
“So at the moment, going to Sydney for a day or two would be out of the question until we get to that 90 per cent double dose,” she said.
Queensland recorded no new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday and one in hotel quarantine.
- Share a pet photo, plant a tree? Check before you join a trend, experts say | Covid19 News
- No Covid pass, no entry: Cardiff clubbers divided on new Welsh rules | Corona News
- Montreal public health plans ‘suppressive’ approach to Omicron variant cases | Covid19 News
[ ALL Information from theguardian.com was used in this report. Read More ]