Sydneysiders travelling to the Northern Territory won’t have to undergo mandatory quarantine from October, if NSW continues keep COVID-19 transmission under control, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner says.
The Top End has reached 28 days since its last active coronavirus cases and the government will look to reopen to Sydney from October 9 – but not Victoria yet.
A downward trend in new cases in NSW and superb testing had satisfied NT chief health officer Hugh Heggie it will soon be safe for Sydneysiders to enter the territory.
“We cannot predict the future, but we can plan for it. So, if something happens, if things change, if the trend goes back up in Sydney, we will not hesitate to keep their hot spot status in place for as long as we need to,” Mr Gunner said.
“But if they continue to make the progress they are making – as we expect they will – we can welcome Sydneysiders back to the Territory next month. This is about giving people, especially Territorians, as much notice as possible, and as much certainty as possible, in these uncertain times.”
The Chief Minister said Victoria had a long way to go before a similar relaxation of quarantine rules, but he urged Territorians to check on the welfare of any family or friends living in that state.
Mr Gunner also said there was an issue with people using the NT as a backdoor to enter other states such as Queensland.
He said it was costing money to subsidise people from COVID-19 hotspots using his government’s quarantine facilities at Howard Springs.
He urged people from southern states intending to quarantine in the NT to spend from time in the Territory before going to events such as the AFL grand final in Brisbane,
“I can guarantee you, the Northern Territory is a whole lot more and a whole lot better than the village at Howard Springs. It’s the best place in the world,” Mr Gunner said.
“Please stick around and enjoy it a while before you bugger off.”