Sydney, Australia, Sep 4 (efe-epa).- Australia announced Friday that it plans to reopen the economy in December, after a new outbreak of COVID-19, although there are still discrepancies between several states in the country on how to proceed with the reopening.
The government had planned to fully reopen its economy after suppressing COVID-19, but the July outbreak in Melbourne thwarted its plans and forced new closures of non-essential businesses in the state of Victoria and the borders between states in the rest of the country.
“Seven out of eight states and territories want to return to this position in December this year,” Morrison told reporters after a National Cabinet meeting, in which it was agreed to review the plan, which will include elements such as increasing the capacity to perform tests for COVID-19, among others.
The states of Victoria and New South Wales, which together account for more than 55 percent of Australia’s population and GDP, want to reopen their borders with other states despite being more affected by COVID- 19.
But the state of “Western Australia has different borders and an economy very different from that of most states and territories,” Morrison said when explaining the refusal of this mining jurisdiction, which represents 14 percent of the federal economy, after Queensland.
Morrison also opened the door to creating an “air bubble” with New Zealand, as well as expanding the entry limit for Australian residents and citizens.
Australia currently allows 4,000 people to enter each week, mainly arriving in Sydney and undergoing a 14-day quarantine, although there are 23,000 residents and citizens abroad waiting to return home.
Australia has accumulated more than 26,100 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, most of them in Victoria as a result of the outbreak in Melbourne, among which there are more than 700 deaths. EFE-EPA