Queensland government apologises after PCR test debacle causes ‘a lot of confusion’

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Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has apologised after a confusing week-long feud about the cost of PCR tests needed by travellers to enter the state.

Meanwhile, the state has reached another vaccine milestone, with more than 75 per cent of the eligible population now double-jabbed.

Under the state’s reopening plan vaccinated domestic arrivals need to provide a negative PCR test once 80 per cent of Queenslanders are fully vaccinated.

However, domestic travellers, tourism operators and airlines were in limbo for six days as the state and Commonwealth argued about who would fork out for the tests.

The spat ended on Tuesday when federal Health Minister Greg Hunt clarified tests for domestic travel would be free after the state confirmed it would accept a text message as proof of a result.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath, who has been off work sick this week, says she’s sorry about the uncertainty caused for travellers.

“I’m happy to apologise,” she told reporters on Friday.

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath (file image)
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath. Credit: AAP

“There was a lot of confusion around this. We’ve made it clear there isn’t a cost without needing a certificate, we don’t require the certificate.

“A text, which we have always said, a text is suitable. It’s been on our border pass systems since it went live at 70 per cent.

“I’m just pleased that people do not have to incur this cost. They can get the PCR test which is absolutely invaluable in stopping this virus coming into our state.”

Deputy Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken said PCR tests were always provided to domestic travellers for free under co-funding arrangements.

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