Covid-19 safe Aus states urged to open domestic borders

SYDNEY, Aug. 14, 2020 -- Photo taken on May 27, 2020 shows workers at Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. The COVID-19 outbreak in the Australian State of Victoria will likely delay the country's economic recovery by several months, Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe told a parliamentary inquiry on Friday.

Steven Marshall, the Premier of South Australia (SA), on Friday urged the nation’s coronavirus-safe states to open their borders and help reunite families.

Marshall said it was wrong that states with no community transmission of Covid-19 such as Western Australia (WA) and Tasmania were keeping their borders shut with SA, describing the closures as an impediment to economic growth and detrimental to mental health, reports Xinhua news agency.

“We have opened up to Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Tasmania.

“We are disappointed that Western Australians and Tasmanians can come into South Australia but, to date, we have not been able to go into their states.

“Many South Australians are dislocated from their families due to those states’ border restrictions. It would be great to see those borders lifted for SA.

“Many people could live with it for weeks or months but now some states are saying they’re not going to be open to South Australians until December… and I really feel for them at this time,” he added.

SA has had 462 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, which is fewer than every state except Tasmania which reported 230.

Its borders remain closed to Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) — both of which have ongoing community transmission of the virus — and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham has repeatedly called for travel between states and territories to restart.

He recently urged states and territories to consider adopting a similar approach in SA where there has been a willingness to open up to other states who have had similar success in suppressing the spread of Covid-19.

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