Coronavirus Australia live: national cabinet split over quarantine and flight

Good morning,

The international arrivals cap will be the focus of the national cabinet meeting today. Prime minister Scott Morrison has told the states to increase the capacity of their hotel quarantine programs, promising to lift the weekly cap on international arrivals from 4,000 per week to 6,000 per week from next Friday. That means the states – except Melbourne, which is still not taking international arrivals – will have to quarantine a further 50 people a week. Morrison said yesterday it was a “decision, not a proposal”.

But the federation being what it is, Western Australia will oppose the move. Treasurer Ben Wyatt told reporters on Thursday:

State governments aren’t historically in the quarantining space. That is a commonwealth responsibility.

I don’t think any state has said no to this but having a Commonwealth simply try to use the bludgeon attempt to get an outcome is not a particularly sophisticated one.

WA premier Mark McGowan is talking about reopening the quarantine program on Rottnest Island, which is where some cruise ship passengers were housed. But Rottnest is now open for local travellers again, and it’s school holidays – so people in quarantine would have to be managed around holidaying families.

In Melbourne, residents of the southeastern suburbs of Narre Warren and Hallam in the City of Casey have been urged to get a Covid-19 test to stamp out a growing cluster of new cases. There are 34 cases linked to the cluster as of yesterday. Three pop-up testing sites have been established. The full list of testing sites is here.

On borders, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has reached another stalemate with her Queensland counterpart, Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Berejiklian told reporters this week that all conversations on borders with Palaszczuk had ceased, again. Could make national cabinet awkward.

She said:

The door is completely shut as far as Queensland is concerned. (It’s) locked, bolted and no conversations are continuing, unfortunately…

At least the South Australian government is taking more of an evidence-based approach.

NSW has eased its restrictions with Victoria – people living in the border bubble can now cross the border to visit a restaurant, cafe or club. This has been interpreted by people living in Victorian bubble towns as meaning they no longer need a reason to travel into the bubble area of NSW. The NSW health minister, Brad Hazzard, told reporters:

Life has returned to normal for the people in that bubble zone.

Let’s crack on. You can follow me on twitter at @callapilla or email me at

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