Queensland will ease Covid-19 quarantine rules for household contacts and scrap them completely for unvaccinated international arrivals next week.
The acting premier, Steven Miles, said the changes will come into effect at 6pm next Thursday, bringing Queensland’s rules closer into line with New South Wales and Victoria.
“It’s another milestone in our pathway out of Covid-19,” Miles said on Friday.
Household contacts will not need to quarantine at home for seven days, but they must return a negative rapid antigen test every two days.
They must also wear face masks indoors, as well as when outdoors if they can’t socially distance.
Household contacts should still work from home where possible and avoid high-risk settings such as hospitals and aged care homes, the Queensland government said.
They will also have to tell their employers they are a close contact, and avoid high-risk environments like hospitals and aged care settings.
The government will also ditch mandatory quarantine for unvaccinated travellers arriving from overseas, but they will still need to test negative.
The health minister, Yvette D’Ath, said the changes were an essential step toward living with Covid-19.
“It is important that every state along the east coast of Australia have the same rules for unvaccinated international arrivals, making it very easy for international arrivals to fly into any one of the states, including Queensland, and to move around and have consistency in relation to those rules,” D’Ath said.
However, the minister said it was vital for people with symptoms to isolate.
“The lifting of these content requirements are for people who are asymptomatic and testing negative – if you have symptoms, you must stay home.”
This comes as isolation for close contacts ends in NSW at 6pm on Friday, and in Victoria at 11.59pm.
Victoria will also ease rules on vaccination status and check-in requirements for pubs, restaurants, theatres and sports venues.
Vaccine mandates for workers in multiple industries are being retained in Victoria, while NSW will shift to a risk assessment based mandate model.
Similar moves are being considered in South Australia, with officials scheduled to meet on Friday.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee had indicated it would be appropriate to drop some of the stricter restrictions once the current wave of infections had peaked.
Queensland recorded five Covid deaths and 8,080 new cases on Friday. There were 15,283 cases and 13 deaths recorded in NSW, while Victoria had 18,968 cases and 16 deaths.
The latest figures show that 93.59% of eligible Queenslanders have had one dose of a vaccine, while 92% have had two.