Decision on reopening borders up to the NT, says Deputy CMO
AUSTRALIA'S Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says he never advised that borders should be closed in the Northern Territory and other states.
Dr Kelly recently addressed questions about what level of risk jurisdictions like the Northern Territory might face now if the borders are reopened.
"I'd just like to say that, at the national level, we've never said that - we've never suggested that internal borders in Australia should be closed," he said.
"That's been a decision by various states, and it will be their decision as to when to open them.
"But if you look at when those decisions were made, some weeks ago, we had an increasing - rapidly increasing - number of cases each day right around Australia, but particularly in the southeastern corner of the nation.
"And so, when you look at what's happening now with just very few cases, only just over 100 cases in the last week, and only 11 in the last 24 hours, I think that things have changed a lot."
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It comes after NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner recently slammed suggestions from the NT's business community to open the borders to jurisdictions that hadn't had a coronavirus case in 28 days.
NT Chamber of Commerce boss Greg Ireland has been urging the NT Government to ease border restrictions so that interstate punters could attend major NT events like the Bet-Easy Darwin Triple Crown Supercars in August.
He said the event may otherwise not be profitable for the Territory.
"It's important to realise while the locals will no doubt support things like the Darwin Cup and the Supercars, it perhaps won't have the quantity of people needed," he said.
However Mr Gunner, in a post to social media yesterday morning, said he couldn't "be clearer" that he would not put the lives of Territorians at risk to open the borders sooner.
"I will open the borders when it's safe. And it won't be based on when the Supercars are happening, it will be based on expert medical advice," he said.
"I know this is an uncertain and challenging time. I'll keep you updated as we know more.
"We love having other Aussies here and we can't wait to have them back - but only when it's safe."
Only two active COVID-19 cases remain in the NT.
Originally published as Decision on reopening borders up to the NT, says Deputy CMO