Travel within Australia is set to be reinstated just in time for the holidays. Yesterday it was reported that Australia has brought its local Covid infection rate down to zero for the first time since the 9th of June. The news comes after a grueling Wuhan-style lockdown of Victoria, the country’s hardest-hit state.
With the virus eradicated (for now), states are getting ready to lift border restrictions, or at least make them less severe, which is good news for Australians wishing to move across state lines for Christmas. In the words of Health Minister Greg Hunt, Australia is “on track to the prime minister’s goal of a country which is internally open before Christmas.”
Prime Minister Morrison had previously asserted that all states and territories were on the verge of opening back up, which Hunt has now confirmed.
“Tasmania has significantly opened its borders, Western Australia has moved from a hard to a soft border, and Queensland has expanded their border openings,” Hunt said before adding, “but there’s more to go.”
What a relief. For a while I thought I might be forced to package myself in a carton and travel via fast courier to visit my family in Perth.
Hunt went on to say that officials are gaining confidence, and that experts are in agreement over the reopening of borders.
“As confidence is built, we want to see those borders open as quickly as possible,” he said. “There are no commonwealth decisions, and no AHPPC or medical expert decisions as to closure of internal borders in Australia.
“What we’re seeing, with continued low numbers in Victoria and NSW, the case for one single internal national bubble is growing.”
Freedom of movement between Queensland and NSW will be implemented soon, with Victoria to follow once its system of contact tracing is proven to be effective.
“We’re now in a position where we would like to see NSW and Queensland be able to, as soon as possible, to have free movement between the jurisdictions. Once Victoria has its contact tracing to gold standard level, then I think we’ll see a single national bubble in due course.”