Caps on Australia’s international arrivals to remain until late October

Senior woman and adult son wearing face mask at airport in fear of coronavirus and travel ban and international trips cancellations for disease control and prevention of COVID-19 outbreak pandemic.

Current caps on international arrivals to Australian cities will remain until 24 October, following the latest National Cabinet meeting.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed an agreement made between state and territory premiers at Friday’s meeting will see the continuation of a per day/week cap on arrivals to Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin, and Hobart.

Sydney will continue to observe a limit of 350 passenger arrivals per day; Perth, 525 passenger arrivals per week; and Brisbane, 500 passenger arrivals per week.

Adelaide will continue to cap arrivals to 500 passengers per week, while passenger limits on each flight to Canberra and Darwin will be discussed with jurisdictions on a “case-by-case basis”.

Hobart will continue to accept no international flights.

Furthermore, the suspension of international flights into Melbourne will continue, following its introduction in June to ease pressure on Victoria’s under-review hotel quarantine system.

National Cabinet also agreed that information relating to quarantine capacity and passenger demand would continue to be exchanged.

It also agreed to support flexibility to minimise disruptions to returning Australian citizens and permanent residents, with arrangements to continue to be reviewed by National Cabinet.

Restrictions on outbound travel by Australian citizens and permanent residents will, moreover, remain in place, in accordance with the health advice to the government, Morrison said.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth agreed to “consider options” for enhancing contact tracing of passengers on domestic flights.

The Prime Minister also briefed First Ministers on enhanced border management arrangements in place in the Torres Strait to “minimise the risk of COVID-19 being communicated” and outlined his recent virtual summit with the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.

In addition, Morrison also revealed that Jane Halton AO PSM, who is leading the ‘National Review of Hotel Quarantine Arrangements’, provided National Cabinet with an interim report, including early observations about areas of risk and opportunities for improvement based on initial findings.

“The review has sought information from each state and territory, and is also undertaking site visits of facilities across the nation,” the Prime Minister said.

“After completing site visits in Queensland and New South Wales, the interim report notes openness from stakeholders across the hotel quarantine system in those two states, as well as a strong desire to learn from past experiences and to ensure best practice.”

The final report is due to be provided to National Cabinet in October 2020. It comes as Victoria undertakes an inquiry into its state hotel quarantine system, which began in July.

In dour news for the state of Australian jobs, National Cabinet also acknowledged the national unemployment rate is now expected to peak at “closer to 10 per cent” in the December quarter of 2020.

However, it comes as the Morrison government reduces further red tape on the JobKeeper program, made in response to the Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, and wider restrictions across Victoria.

Featured image source: iStock/sam thomas

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