North Queenslanders have been abandoning the Check In Qld app for months, with new data showing usage rates have dropped by millions since July.
- Check In Qld rates have dropped by millions just days away from borders re-opening
- Doctors fear North Queenslanders are too complacent about the COVID risk
- Patrons have labelled the app “inconvenient”
Just days away from Queensland’s border re-opening, doctors are concerned some parts of the state have become too complacent about the COVID risk.
In Townsville, there were more than 5.4 million check-ins in July, after the city experienced a COVID scare.
Data obtained by the ABC from the Queensland Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy (CHDE) shows that number had dropped to less than 3.8 million in November.
In Cairns, the app was most popular in August when more than 5.2 million check-ins were recorded.
But that figure dropped month by month to just 3.8 million in November, representing a nearly 28 per cent decrease.
‘We’re absolutely going to see cases’
It is a concerning trend for Queensland just days before the state’s border re-opens to vaccinated travellers from COVID hotspots, according to Michael Clements, rural chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
“People think we’re in a North Queensland bubble, but we are in for a very rude shock starting next week,” Dr Clements said.
Dr Clements hopes Check In Qld usage will go up again once contact tracing becomes necessary.
“We are absolutely going to be seeing cases in the next few weeks,” he said.
In a statement, the CHDE has reminded Queenslanders of the importance of using the Check In Qld app.
Jackson Page works at a nightclub in Townsville and says patrons have grown tired of using the app.
“I think it’s more inconvenient than it is hard,” he said.
“It also holds our line up an extra 10 minutes and we could have other customers coming in.
Amanda Shepherd is a hospitality worker at a number of Townsville venues.
She says customers are very relaxed about COVID in North Queensland.
“But more drama is going to come from having evidence of vaccination.”
CHDE said Queenslanders could now also add their COVID-19 digital certificate to the Check In Qld app, making it easier to check in and for businesses to verify vaccination information once this requirement becomes mandatory.