Border opens to Sydneysiders today
Greater Sydney will finally be removed from the Northern Territory's coronavirus hotspot list for the first time since July 17.
The easing of restrictions means that from midnight tonight, more than five million Sydney residents - or anyone who has recently spent time in the NSW capital - will be able to enter the NT without two weeks of quarantine at their own expense.
There were fears the decision to revoke the city's COVID-19 hotspot status could be at threat after NSW recorded 12 new infections on Thursday.
12 new cases of #COVID19 were diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) October 8, 2020
Of the 12 new cases:
- 4 are returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine
- 8 are locally acquired (3 of these cases were announced to the public yesterday, and are included in today’s numbers) pic.twitter.com/NKLXGKmJlv
However, while NT Chief Health Officer Dr Charles Pain said authorities would keep a close eye on the unfolding situation, the plan would still be going ahead.
"I am also confident in the thorough testing and contact tracing response in NSW, and that this outbreak is contained," Dr Payne told reporters during a press conference on Thursday.
"With this advice and our own review of the evidence, I remain confident about revoking greater Sydney as a hotspot from tomorrow."
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The announcement comes hot on the heels of a tough deadline handed down to NSW by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, when she gave the state just 48 hours to discover where three new cases in Sydney started from.
If NSW fails to do so, the planned reopening of Queensland to NSW residents on November 1 could be postponed.
Speaking to media on Thursday, Ms Annastacia Palaszczuk said she's not "ruling out" any decisions regarding the border just yet.
"If the New South Wales Premier is on high alert about those cases, I'm on high alert," she said on Thursday.
"We are not ruling out anything at the moment. There's another 24 hours for them to look at where those cases came from.
"We hope NSW gets on top of those cases very quickly."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has joined a growing list of Coalition members to blast Western Australia's Premier, Mark McGowan, over his state's border closure.
At the moment, a reopening date has not been set, and today Mr Morrison accused the Premier of acting in economic rather than public health interests.
"These arrangements should be in place for health reasons only, and the health reasons have to be clearly stated, and they have to be reasonable, and it's up to the premiers to justify those things," Mr Morrison told 2GB radio on Thursday.
"I was disappointed to hear him say the border seems to be there as some form of economic protectionism.
"Locking people in the state so they won't spend money in other parts of the country, well that's not the Australian way."
Originally published as Border opens to Sydneysiders today