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(Australian Associated Press)
South Australia looms as the last domino to fall in the return to full interstate travel as Western Australia prepares to open its doors.
WA will reopen its borders to NSW and Victoria from December 8, Premier Mark McGowan has confirmed.
Travellers from those states will no longer be required to quarantine for 14 days, having endured almost nine months of restrictions.
It will leave SA as the lone outpost as states and territories edge closer to tearing down all borders in time for Christmas.
There are 33 cases linked to a worrying COVID-19 cluster in Adelaide, although only 11 of those are still considered active infections.
WA has banned entry to anyone from SA, while Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania are restricting travel from Adelaide hotspot areas.
Mr McGowan on Tuesday said the WA-SA border controls will be reviewed next week and won’t change until at least December 11.
He added that his government retained the option of reintroducing other border restrictions.
“We will not hesitate to reinstate the hard border if there are outbreaks over east and we get medical advice to do so,” he told reporters.
The premier said he was hopeful of soon reuniting with his NSW-based parents.
“”As a country, I’m so relieved we’ve gotten to this point,” he said.
“It’s a credit to all Australians that we are nearly at the point of eliminating the virus in the community.”
Travellers entering WA from NSW and Victoria will still be required to undergo health screening and a temperature check at the airport, complete a G2G pass outlining recent travel and take a COVID-19 test if necessary.
Victoria has already reached WA’s criteria of 28 days without community transmission to qualify for eased border rules, while NSW has now gone 24 days without a locally acquired infection.
Meanwhile, there were emotional scenes at Brisbane airport as family and friends welcomed travellers arriving on the first flight from Victoria after Queensland eased border restrictions.
The Palaszczuk government lifted its COVID-19 virus hotspot declarations and travel restrictions for people from Victoria and Greater Sydney early on Tuesday morning.
Thousands of southerners are expected to start flocking to the Sunshine State, with hopes it will lead to a much-needed jobs boom.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison hailed the changes, saying Australia “was not built for borders”.
“We said we would work to get Australia open by Christmas,” he told parliament.
“And on the record of the achievements so far, we are well and truly on that path and so I thank the premiers and the chief ministers for the way we have worked together patiently.
“There’s been a few disagreements but the outcome is what matters.”