Queensland Government apologizes after PCR test debacle causes ‘much confusion’

Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has apologized after a confusing week-long feud over the cost of PCR tests that travelers will need to get into the state.

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

According to the state’s reopening plan, vaccinated domestic arrivals must give a negative PCR test when 80 percent of Queenslanders are fully vaccinated.

However, domestic travelers, tourism operators and airlines were in limbo for six days as the state and the Commonwealth quarreled over who would pay for the tests.

The leap ended Tuesday when Federal Health Secretary Greg Hunt clarified that tests for domestic travel would be free after the state confirmed it would accept a text message as proof of the result.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath, who has been ill from work this week, says she is saddened by the insecurity caused to travelers.

“I’m happy to apologize,” she told reporters 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 have made it clear that there is no cost without needing a certificate, we do not require the certificate.

“A text, as we have always said, a text is appropriate. It has been on our border pass systems since it went live with 70 per cent.

“I’m just glad that people do not have to bear these costs. They can get the PCR test, which is absolutely invaluable in preventing this virus from entering our state.”

Deputy Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken said PCR testing was always provided free of charge to domestic travelers under co-financing schemes.

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