Australia’s north east state of Queensland reopens borders


SYDNEY, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) — The Australian state of Queensland reopened its borders to the residents from New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria on Tuesday, after months of restrictions due to COVID-19.

Also on Tuesday, the State of Western Australia announced as of Dec. 8 it would allow residents from NSW and Victoria to enter without having to quarantine.

Thousands of Australian’s streamed north into Queensland on the first day of summer, reuniting loved ones and offering a much-needed boost to tourism industry operators across the state, which incorporates the Great Barrier Reef.

Authorities in Queensland had come under pressure to ease restrictions earlier in order to boost the local economy, saying they would not do so until the threat from COVID-19 was low enough.

As of Tuesday, NSW had gone 24 consecutive days without a locally acquired case of COVID-19, while Victoria had gone more than a month without a single active case.

Local airline, Virgin Australia said around 100,000 tickets to Queensland had been booked during the previous week, adding that it expected to reach 60 percent of prior year domestic capacity by January 2021.

“We know many Australians have been itching to visit Queensland to reunite with their loved ones or do business,” Virgin Australia Group CEO and Managing Director Jayne Hrdlicka said.

“The broader economic contribution that open borders will bring cannot be underestimated in what has been the most difficult year for many businesses, particularly in the tourism and hospitality industries.”

Meanwhile, the State of South Australia’s capital, Adelaide, remained a designated COVID-19 hotspot by Queensland officials, meaning residents were still unable to enter without being granted an exemption.



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