Tasmania has announced that it is opening its borders to other Australian states which, like itself, have minimal or no COVID-19 infections.
This means that travellers from South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory are welcome.
But would-be visitors from Victoria, NSW, Queensland and the ACT will still find the ‘Sorry, Closed Until Further Notice’ sign in place at the island-state’s borders.
Premier says new arrangements kick in on 7 August
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said on Friday that the new travel arrangements would be in place from 7 August.
Creating a workable ‘travel bubble’ with those states and territory will, however, depend on their willingness to enter into an agreement to relax their own restrictions.
For example, ABC News reports that WA Premier Mark McGowan said a travel bubble between his state and Tasmania would not be possible under WA’s border restrictions.
A spokeswoman said WA had no plans to change its restrictions before 7 August.
Tasmania is one of the safest places on the planet
In his Friday statement, the Tasmanian Premier noted: “Tasmania, along with five other jurisdictions has no community transmission [of COVID-19] and zero or very low case numbers
“Tasmania is one of the safest places on the planet and in Public Health’s view, so are South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, which are equally as safe.”
Gutwein added that partially opening Tasmania’s borders would mean additional checks at airports and sea ports.
Big fines for those trying to sneak in illegally
“The Good 2 Go app, or paper form if people can’t access the app, will need to be filled out accurately in terms of where passengers may have been in the last 14 days and there will be fines of up to $16 800 or up to six months’ jail for those who provide incorrect information,” he said.
All arriving passengers in Tasmania would be required to undergo a mandatory health check, he emphasised. Anyone who was unwell would be required to have a COVID-19 test.
“After testing those people who have had the test must remain in hotel or home quarantine until they receive the results of those tests. Refusal to have a test will result in mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days, or they will be directed to return home on the next flight,” Gutwein stated.
To date, Tasmania has recorded 227 cases and 13 deaths.