Premier Peter Gutwein has revealed that Tasmania will open its borders to New Zealand on Monday, in addition to low-risk Australian jurisdictions.
He made the announcement yesterday afternoon following a national cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Mr Gutwein said that Tasmania would open to New Zealand on October 26, the same day it opens to Australian jurisdictions deemed low-risk: Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT.
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Areas are determined to be low-risk if they have gone for a certain period of time having recorded little or no cases of coronavirus and no community transmission.
"New Zealand will also be classified as low-risk under these guidelines," Mr Gutwein said.
"We also remain in discussions about direct flights between Hobart and New Zealand. And those conversations will remain positive and I'm looking forward to, after a lengthy discussion with the Prime Minister this morning, that we will have further discussions in coming weeks in terms of looking at timeframes and what requirements need to be put in place."
Travellers from New Zealand will not be required to quarantine upon arrival to Tasmania from Monday onwards but will be subject to health screening at the border, as will those arriving from other places.
Early next week, the government will provide an update as to when Tasmania will reopen to New South Wales, the current aim being November 2. And it's hoped the state will also be able to open to Victoria by December 1.
Public Health director Mark Veitch said it was "very pleasing" that the borders could safely reopen to low-risk areas.
"New Zealand hasn't had community transmission of coronavirus in over a month," Dr Veitch said.
"People can take considerable reassurance that it's safe for the borders to be open."
Mr Gutwein reiterated that Tasmania was willing to make a financial contribution to the Commonwealth for repatriation flights to bring home Australians stranded overseas, after the federal government announced yesterday that an additional 300 international arrivals would be allowed into the country.
People can take considerable reassurance that it's safe for the borders to be open.Dr Mark Veitch, Public Health director
At a media conference in Canberra yesterday, the Prime Minister said that despite the fact Tasmania didn't have an international airport "if we need to stand that up in order to achieve what we've set out, then we will certainly do that".
"Tasmania stands ready to assist," Mr Morrison said.
"They [Tasmania] are our further standby option. I want to thank Premier Gutwein for his working together with us to achieve that."
Meanwhile, Tasmania's state of emergency, which is set to end on October 26, will not be extended.
But the Premier clarified that the state's public health emergency declaration would remain in place for the foreseeable future.
"The public health emergency ... which runs until the 21st of November, subject to public health advice based on the current risks we face, will likely remain in place while there remains COVID-19 risks in our community and a need to have the appropriate resources and responses available," Mr Gutwein said.
It's also emerged that the inquiry into the deadly coronavirus outbreak that wreaked havoc on the North-West Coast earlier this year will have its reporting time extended to the end of November.
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