Tasmania Reopens Borders to Mainland Australia

Tasmania Reopens Borders to Mainland Australia
The Spirit of Tasmania ferry which carries passengers between Melbourne and Devonport in Tasmania, is moored at Station Pier in Melbourne on March 24, 2020. (William West/Getty Images)

Tasmania will on Monday reopen to much of mainland Australia, with the island state's government insisting it is well prepared to handle any COVID-19 infections.

The state was the first Australian jurisdiction to close its borders in March and hasn't recorded a case in more than 70 days.

It will open to low-risk regions Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and ACT (Australian Capital Territory), plus New Zealand.

All arrivals at airports and seaports will be health screened and anyone with virus symptoms will be tested and ordered into quarantine until their result is known.

"While it's exciting to be able to see restrictions ease and life getting to a COVID-normal, we also need to remember there is always a risk of coronavirus in our community," State Health Minister Sarah Courtney said.

She said, "extensive work" had been put into the state's contact tracing systems and aged care preparedness.

Courtney said social distancing and personal hygiene were critical in the weeks ahead.

"It's important that we continue this vigilance so our healthcare workers remain safe and we have capacity in our hospitals," she said.

Tasmania has more than 200 ventilators and is planning to acquire another 100.

It remains closed to Victoria and is slated to open to New South Wales on Nov. 2, with a firm call on that date to be made this week.

Courtney urged anyone with cold symptoms to get tested, with the daily testing rates around 400-500.

The Spirit of Tasmania Bass Strait ferry service, which leaves from Melbourne, will resume but only to people coming from the low-risk mainland states.

By Ethan James