COVID-19

Borders nationwide to be lifted by December in new COVID-19 plan

The National Cabinet has announced a new plan for the road out of COVID-19 with December marked as the date of open borders nationwide.

The new plan for Australia’s emergence out of COVID-19 has been unveiled by Prime Minister Scott Morrison following the latest National Cabinet meeting.

The Cabinet has started revising the next plan ‘on the road out’ with Mr Morrison stating that December is the date marked by majority of states and territories to have hard borders dropped.

The new plan is currently in progress with a predominant part of it dependent on finessing the hot spot model.

The components of this plan will be devised through information from the AHPPC on a medical front, and the National Coordinating Mechanism on the economic front.

“It’s not just about how many people you can fit in cafe,” Mr Morrison says.

Other components will include measuring the testing regime, its arrangements, surveillance testing, including widespread sewage testing, required ratios to measure potential outbreaks, and the availability of passenger movements around the country.

The aim is to move to a hot spot model by December, as opposed to hard borders between states.

Of the eight states and territories, only Western Australia has not committed to this plan, with the Prime Minister saying that their border is unlike the rest of the country.

“Western Australia has a different border and different economy,” he says.

“They will watch carefully, but the door remains open and they can join us at a subsequent time.”

An open data room between states and territories will ensure bilateral and multilateral arrangements will take part of this plan.

Initially bilateral will become trilateral, with SA, NSW and VIC planning to join this arrangement.

“We may be living like this for years so we need to have a sustainable lifestyle soon,” Mr Morrison says.

Agricultural Code

The Agricultural Code was adopted by five out of eight states and territories, with Queensland, WA and Tasmania not choosing to commit to this.

SA NSW and Victoria will begin immediately to put that prescriptive code in place, to facilitate greater engagement of agriculture workers.

Repatriation

While NSW has received the bulk of repatriated arrivals and consistently hitting their cap, the Transport Minister will be working with other states and territories to plan flights that can arrive in Perth, Adelaide, ACT, and even Hobart, to ensure more Australians can be repatriated.

New Zealand

Australia will be looking to apply the same hot spot approach to New Zealand with Scott Morrison and New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern beggining discussion.

This would mean that New Zealanders can come to Australia, however allowances for Australians travelling to will be decided by the New Zealand Government.

Emergency Services

The Bureau of Meteorology has provided the National Cabinet with forecasts for the upcoming summer season.

The National Cabinet has immediately tasked the Emergency Management of Australia to convene with states and territories so that there is a seamless operational arrangement between states that is COVID safe.

Noting the the prospect of bushfires, cyclones, and floods in the coming seasons, Mr Morrison says that the movement of emergency service workers and defence force personnel must be done as quickly as possible.

“We don’t want firefighters doing two weeks in hotel quarantine when there is a bushfire,” he says.

More to come.

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