Australian Prime Minister to ease restrictions despite coronavirus outbreak in Victoria

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The news come despite a rise in infections in Victoria, the second most populous state in the country. The new wave of coronavirus cases in Victoria prompted a response involving ambulances and mobile testing sites in order to conduct mass testing.

On Friday, the state announced its tenth day in a row of new infection figures set in double digits.

“There will be outbreaks and what matters is that we continue to build our capability to deal with those outbreaks,” Mr Morrison told a media conference in Canberra.

The cabinet concurred in keeping the 14-day quarantine rule for returning Australians and permanent residents from overseas.

Mr Morrison said forthcoming priorities included devising a “roadmap” for the entertainment industry to reopen, and the return of university students to the classrooms.

On other measures, Mr Morrison said premiers and chief ministers would continue to follow the “three-step plan”.

“They will continue to make announcements easing into next month,” Mr Morrison said.

The prime minister admitted there was much “uncertainty” regarding the Australia could reopen its borders following the pandemic.

But he added that Qantas CEO Alan Joyce’s estimations that they would reopen next year at the earliest was not plausible.

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Mr Morrison said that Australia could be striking agreements with New Zealand and other Pacific countries sooner.

“We hope we can come to an arrangement with New Zealand before that (the next 12 months), whether it’s with other nations, a number of other countries expressed an interest given our health success in Australia,” Mr Morrison said.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be invitations we take up.

“You look around the world and you see the intensity of the virus escalating, not decelerating, then I think it is not unreasonable for Alan Joyce to form the view he has.

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“No one really knows and that’s the problem.”

He also cited the Northern Territory’s move to have all incoming travellers complete a form stating their countries of origin and of transit.

The Territory’s will reopen to the rest of the country on July 17, as planned, but those who come from a coronavirus hotspot will not be allowed in.

“If your suburb or local government area has been declared a hotspot by your state or territory government, or by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, then you will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days in a regional centre and at your own cost, before you can enjoy the NT,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.

“I commend the chief minister, Michael Gunner, for that approach,” he said.

“If you’ve come from a hotspot, well, you’ll have to go into quarantine and that’s entirely reasonable.

“What that does is reinforces that this is about where the hotspot is and these are localised outbreaks.

“If you live in Wangaratta as I said yesterday, or Wagga, you’re just as affected by what’s happening in the hotspots of Melbourne.

“And so, to have those sort of broadbrush-type restrictions really, I don’t think, makes an enormous amount of sense.”

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