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Christmas amid virus threat: Queensland-South Australia border restrictions to ease on December 12

BRISBANE, Queensland: Queensland will ease its border restrictions with South Australia in time for Christmas, authorities have revealed.

Subject to no cases of community transmission over the next five days, people will be able to travel into Queensland from Adelaide from 1:00 am on December 12.

South Australia has now recorded nine consecutive days without new Covid-19 cases in the wake of the northern suburbs cluster which sparked the border closure.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant conceded that “things could change” before December 12 but authorities were confident the border would open.

“There’s been a large number of people in quarantine [in Adelaide] in relation to that cluster,” she said.

“But they have worked very hard to get on top of it.”

Western Australia is also set to ease its border restrictions with South Australia at midnight Thursday, but travellers entering WA will still be required to quarantine for 14 days upon the arrival.

Tasmania and the Northern Territory reopened their borders to South Australia last week, with Victoria keeping its permit system in place for now.

The border news comes as federal Health Minister Greg Hunt keeps an eye on a vaccine rollout in the United Kingdom, with Australia seeking to decide on its rollout by the end of January.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s vaccine, which the UK is rolling out this week, is among several expected to be available by March.

“We very specifically built in place a range of vaccines and all the different data, whether it’s from the clinical trials or what’s going to occur in the United Kingdom, will be of immense value to Australia,” Mr Hunt said.

“We’ll look to see whether there are any lessons from the rollout, whether there are any lessons or information with regards to safety or effectiveness.”