There have been tears and cheers as tens of thousands of people began arriving in Queensland after the state reopened its border to vaccinated Australians.
More than 140 days after locking out most of the country, Queensland dropped entry and quarantine restrictions at 1am on Monday, sparking emotional scenes at airports and border crossings.
Families and friends embraced in heartwarming reunions as the state threw open the welcome mat for fully vaccinated interstate travellers after hitting its 80 per cent double jab target.
Queensland Police were also all smiles after a smooth border reopening on the roads with expected lengthy delays avoided, a trend they hoped continues with 23,500 border pass applications received by 10am on Monday.
"I never thought I would see the day where we are opening up with over 80 per cent double dose in Queensland," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
"Today is a happy day, an emotional day for many people.
"I am very proud of what Queenslanders have done in the two years of this pandemic and I hope over this festive season you get to spend time with your loved ones after reuniting."
Ms Palaszczuk was confident the border would remain open.
"I hope so. We believe the vaccination rates will hold up well," she said.
Ms Palaszczuk said it was "physically impossible" to check everyone coming into Queensland but warned anyone "not abiding by the rules they are putting the whole state at risk".
Qantas and Jetstar expected to carry 10,000 passengers on flights to and from the state on Monday, with most of the day's services fully booked.
Overall 43 flights and about 6500 people were expected to arrive in Brisbane.
On the Queensland border, thousands of interstate travellers were finally allowed to cross by road, ending months of frustration for some.
Ms Palaszczuk rejected a suggestion people who had endured long waits to re-enter the state, even resorting to camping outside Queensland, had been ignored.
"We had strong border measures in place to keep your families safe in Queensland and the results speak for themselves," she said.
In the biggest Queensland Police operation since the 2018 Commonwealth Games, about 500 officers were deployed to facilitate border crossings at road checkpoints, with up to 50,000 expected to enter in the coming days.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said huge queues had been avoided, with only minor delays for motorists.
She said the "pass system has worked beautifully", but still urged interstate arrivals to have a relevant border pass after police turned away a handful of people on Monday.
Fully vaccinated interstate travellers from a hotspot are required to return a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arriving and a second negative test on day five of their visit.
Health Minister Yvette D'Ath was confident the system could cope with the expected increase in testing.
Ms Palaszczuk turned her attention to Friday, when unvaccinated people will be banned from attending certain venues, including cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, stadiums and theme parks, with police set to enforce the regulations.
"If any business owners have any issues they should contact police," she said.
Ms Carroll said it was "completely unacceptable" for anyone to act aggressively towards staff at vaccine mandated venues.
Meanwhile, Queensland's new chief health officer Dr John Gerrard confirmed one new locally acquired case along with nine in quarantine (seven interstate, two overseas).
The local case was identified on the Sunshine Coast, had been infectious in the community between December 8 and 12, and was likely acquired from northern NSW.
Venues in Sunnybank and Eight Miles Plains in Brisbane's south, Carindale, Bulimba and Morningside in the east as well as Sunshine Coast's Eumundi and Coolum Beach were on Monday added to the list of exposure sites.
Overall 81.29 per cent of eligible Queenslanders are double-dosed and 88.35 per cent have had one jab.
Australian Associated Press
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