Confidence lifts as virus borders ease

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Paul Osborne
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Further easing of coronavirus restrictions will lift confidence across the country, senior Labor and coalition figures say.

Tasmania is the latest state to make a major change to its restrictions, scheduling its reopening to NSW residents on Friday.

It means only Victorians will be unable to visit Tasmania, after the state reopened to most of mainland Australia on October 26.

But it is hoped this will change on December 1 if Victoria’s case numbers – which have been at zero for four consecutive days – remain very low.

From Wednesday, people in Victoria-South Australia cross-border communities within 70km of the Victorian border will not need to have been tested for COVID-19 within the last seven days in order to enter SA.

Queensland reopened its border to regional NSW residents on Tuesday for the first time in almost four months.

WA has flagged it would reopen its borders to all states and territories from November 14, although some restrictions will remain for people from NSW and Victoria.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the tourism and aviation sectors in particular were continuing to feel the pain from closed borders.

But with the suppression of the virus across the country jobs were coming back.

“It will be a long, hard and bumpy road for the Australian economy, and indeed, for the global economy,” he said.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said it was a “good thing” for the national economy and community wellbeing that the states were opening up.

“We’ve always said that we don’t want the restrictions to be in place for even one day longer than is necessary,” he said.

“But equally we need to recognise that the best thing to do for state economies is to limit the spread of the virus.

“We want to see more confidence in the economy, we want to see more spending in local businesses and shops right around Australia and in local communities.”

With the Melbourne Cup going ahead on Tuesday with no crowd at Flemington Racecourse, veteran trainer Gai Waterhouse struck out at Victoria’s restrictions.

“By all means social distance … but you can’t have the country cut off at the knees. People can keep their space, wash their hands, wear masks if they want to.”

Victoria’s Commander of Testing Jeroen Weimar said there was a “long way to go”, noting there was likely to be undetected cases of COVID-19 in the community.

“It’s our job to be really vigilant.”

NSW recorded one new locally acquired case of coronavirus on Tuesday.

The case was linked to a known cluster.

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