The Tasmanian government has announced plans to classify New South Wales as a ‘low-risk’ area from 6 November, with the mandatory quarantine requirement set to be scrapped.
While welcome news for mainlanders eager to get a dose of Hobart, Cradle Mountain, and the Freycinet Peninsula, Premier Peter Gutwein said a final decision would be subject to health advice.
It comes after Tasmania on Monday opened its borders to the so-called ‘low-risk’ jurisdictions of Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT.
Currently, NSW is still considered a ‘medium-risk’ area with the requirement to quarantine on arrival. However, as of Monday, this is able to be done at suitable premises like a private residence, if available.
Premier Gutwein said his government continues to monitor the situation in Victoria, with the aim of easing its border restrictions by December. He said the decision would be based around public health advice.
Earlier this week, Premier Daniel Andrews flagged he would be in discussions with his Tasmanian counterpart about the potential to ease border restrictions between the states. Victoria today recorded two deaths and two new cases linked to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has flagged the possibility of removing the hard border with Victoria as both states record low coronavirus cases.
Berejiklian on Tuesday morning told the press she wanted to open the Victorian-NSW border “as soon as we can”.
“What is really important is to see what happens once the [Victorian] government eases restrictions down there,” she said, according to ABC News.
Berejiklian feels that freedom of movement provides the biggest risk to NSW’s low coronavirus case numbers. She also warned that two consecutive days of zero cases did not indicate a state was free of COVID-19.
“The real test for New South Wales wasn’t lockdown, because it’s easy not to spread the virus when everyone is confined to their home or has limited mobility,” she said.
“But once you ease restrictions and people start moving around again, that’s the real test.”
According to the national broadcaster, Premier Andrews on Tuesday urged Victorians not to holiday in NSW once border restrictions are eased.
“I would be encouraging people to stay very much in Victoria and spend whatever they can on a holiday in regional Victoria, rather than heading to New South Wales or anywhere else, for that matter.”
Andrews added that a staggered approach to opening the border would likely occur, following Melbourne’s move from ‘stay home’ to ‘stay safe’, rather than allowing all Victorians free passage into NSW.
“I think it’s logical that it will be regional Victorians into New South Wales and SA first before metro Melbourne, just given the different positions that country Victoria, regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne are in,” he said.
Featured image: Hobart marina (source: iStock/terrababy)