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Next steps to reopening Australia by Christmas

Australia is working towards re-opening by Christmas – but there are some caveats, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today.

Following the meeting of the National Cabinet, Mr Morrison said most states and territories had agreed “in principle” on the path out of COVID-19 restrictions.

It will allow millions of Australians to travel freely between states during the holiday period, with the exception of Western Australia.

Mr Morrison admitted the Western Australian McGowan government had held out from the in-principle agreement to maintain its hard border policy.

He said he understood the state’s “special circumstances” regarding its economy and workforce situation.

“Importantly this plan not only details the opening of the various activities within our economy and within our community and society. An important part of this plan is that it includes the necessary actions that are needed on a public health response to support that plan,” he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison today.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Australia would be open by Christmas. (Nine)

The National Cabinet will continue to develop the framework for the plan when it next meets on November 13, Mr Morrison said.

“And indeed where things this can be progressed before that, they will be,” he said.

“But over that time we will also have further actions coming from (Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel’s) work that has been done around tracing mechanisms around the country as I indicated after our last meeting.”

The path to reopening internationally was also discussed, with the Prime Minister saying the government intended to trial all viable options regarding arrivals and quarantine so that decisions could be made in the future backed by experience.

“The rest of the states and territories have their timetables and we’re very much looking forward to seeing at least seven of eight open by Christmas of this year. And who knows, it could be eight,” Mr Morrison said.

But he warned the states and territories would need to continue to cooperate, and the flights of returning Australians would need to be carefully managed, for that deadline to be met.

Source: 9News

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