- Australia will cut its intake of overseas arrivals to just 4,000 per week.
- The prime minister reasoned that the 50% reduction would free up resources and allow states to focus them on where they were needed most.
- It comes as Victoria reenters lockdown, with reports suggesting outbreaks there have been a result of lax hotel quarantine procedures.
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
Australia will cut the number of international arrivals it accepts by “just over half” in order to lessen the burden on hotel quarantine arrangements, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Friday.
The prime minister announced the number of people arriving in Australia will be reduced by about 4,000 per week for the foreseeable future. “We will review that as the weeks go by but for now, that is where we have reduced it,” Morrison said.
The purpose of the reduction, according to Morrison, is to allow states to redirect health resources to where they are needed – including supporting Victoria – instead of the current volume of overseas arrivals.
“The decision that we took to reduce the number of returned travellers to Australia at this time was to ensure that we could put our focus on the resources needed to do the testing and tracing and not have to have resources diverted to other tasks,” Morrison said.
Morrison also flagged that all states and territories would move towards charging returned travellers for their quarantine arrangements – a policy which has proven controversial in recent days.
“Some states already have it, other states are moving towards that, and I will leave that to them to make their announcements at the appropriate time and where possible, we will seek to have some sort of national uniformity across those pricings,” he said.
Earlier this week, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian backed down from comments she would charge interstate travellers from Victoria for their quarantine arrangements but emphasised that it would still be on the table for those returning from overseas.
“Can I say quite stridently, we will be charging overseas returning visitors before we charge NSW residents,” Berejiklian said.
Morrison said there would be a nationwide review into hotel quarantine, following reports breached protocols led to outbreaks in Victoria.
“That again is an important step in providing reassurances, making sure that as we look into each of these states and territories and how they are married,” the prime minister said of the review.
“With the exception of Victoria, we can make sure we have even greater confidence in those quarantine arrangements as they have been put in place.”
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