News National Coronavirus spike in Victoria has some states worried about reopening their borders
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Coronavirus spike in Victoria has some states worried about reopening their borders

Uncertainty lingers over when borders will reopen, including this popular crossing from NSW into Queensland. Photo: ABC News
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Despite a localised outbreak of coronavirus in some suburbs of Melbourne, states around Australia remain under pressure to ease travel restrictions.

The local government areas of Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey Darebin, Hume and Moreland have experienced a surge in cases.

But as community transmissions of COVID-19 spike in Victoria, the Northern Territory has held firm on plans to reopen its border, albeit with some restrictions on people coming from coronavirus hotspots.

It is a model Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pointing towards as one that states should follow.

Who has borders open?

New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT are the only jurisdictions that have an open-door policy for all Australians.

South Australia has its borders open for Western Australia, Tasmania, the NT and Queensland.

However, as all of those four areas have closures in place, this only allows interstate South Australians to return home.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall announced on Friday his state would lift all border restrictions on July 20.

 

Which areas have announced borders reopening?

Along with South Australia, the NT announced that it would also reopen its borders next month.

From July 17, travellers will be allowed back in the Top End, despite one medical professional calling the decision “sheer idiocy”.

However, anyone from a declared hotspot will be required to quarantine for two weeks on arrival.

“You will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days at a regional centre and at your own cost before you can enjoy the NT,” said NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner.

“The Territory has stayed safe by closing our borders to all states. In our next step, we will stay safe by keeping our borders closed to suburbs that are not safe.”

Tasmania will keep border restrictions for another four weeks

Premier Peter Gutwein said Tasmania’s borders could remain closed beyond the proposed reopening date of July 24. Photo: ABC News

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein says the state will remain closed until at least July 24.

He said that if the public health advice did not change before July 24, the borders would remain shut.

“I don’t care who is calling for it, whether it be a lobby group or the Prime Minister,” Mr Gutwein said.

“If the public health advice is we should maintain our border restrictions, we will.”

Tasmania was the first state to close its borders, requiring non-essential travellers to self-isolate for 14 days.

‘Victoria is a worry’: WA Premier

Western Australia has not said when it will reopen.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said after Friday’s National Cabinet meeting he would reopen the border “with the east” when the time was right.

He added that the strength of the state economy meant WA did not need to rush its decision.

“We’ll bring the border down with the east in due course,” Mr McGowan said.

“Victoria is a worry. It is a worry for all of us and we want to make sure that it’s under control before such time as we consider bringing the border down.”

‘We don’t want second wave’ in Queensland

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she doesn’t want to risk a second wave by reopening too quickly. Photo: AAP

The outbreak in Victoria has cast doubts over when Queensland will reopen.

July 10 had been touted as a likely date when Annastacia Palaszczuk would ease border restrictions, with the Premier coming under pressure from the state’s struggling tourism industry.

But despite the winter school holidays fast approaching, she said she did not want to risk jeopardising Queensland’s enviable record by welcoming interstate travellers too quickly.

“We have zero cases here in Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“We don’t want to see community transmission, we don’t want a second wave.”

Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles added that Victoria’s response to the current outbreak would factor into Queensland’s decision on sticking to its proposed timeline.

“Escalating their testing, contact tracing, quarantine, isolation — they are all the tools available to them to get on top of these outbreaks,” Mr Miles said.

“That’s what we will be looking for when we go to assess what ongoing border restrictions remain in place past the 10th of July.”

The NSW school holidays run from July 6-19, while the Victoria break is June 27-July 12.

-ABC