Where did you hope to spend Christmas? Warnings on border closures

Government heads say any optimistic travel plans almost certainly need revising.

coronavirus wearing christmas hats

It’s looking increasingly likely that many Australians will have to rethink Christmas travel plans, whether they be international or national.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison predicts that Australia’s international borders won’t open before 2021 and Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner says the territory’s borders will remain shut for at least 18 months.

In Victoria over the past 24 hours, 19 people died of coronavirus and 331 new cases were recorded. The deaths comprised: one female in her 50s, one male in his 70s, six females in their 80s, four males in their 80s, four females in their 90s and three males in their 90s. Fourteen deaths were linked to aged care outbreaks.

The cases that are most concerning Victorian authorities are the 100 ‘mystery’ cases, where the source of infection remains unknown. The number of active cases in Victoria with no clear source now stands at 2903, with a total of 7880 active cases across the state.

NSW recorded 22 new cases, with eight linked to a cluster at Tangara School for Girls at Cherrybrook in Sydney's north-west.

Mr Morrison was less than optimistic in his assessment of when travel restrictions could be lifted.

“I would welcome if by Christmas it were possible, but I think it’s unlikely that we [will be] able to move back to a restriction-free society [by then],” he said. “I doubt that is going to happen, and I doubt the medical situation will enable it.

“It’s important that we just look, and test and interrogate the medical evidence and make decisions based on that and nothing else.”

Federal pressure on state premiers to allow a freer flow of domestic travellers has evaporated.

While Treasury made forecasts about a 1 January 2021 easing of restrictions, that was more a guess than a guideline, he said.

Mr Gunner said that free movement into the Northern Territory would be banned for at least 18 months and that anyone travelling to the territory from Sydney and Victoria would be required to complete two weeks of quarantine at their own expense.

“We have got an indefinite ban on Victoria, and Sydney keeps bubbling away to a point that I can’t give you a date where that would ever lift,” he told ABC 24, saying that 18 months would be a “conservative” estimate.

“My advice to every Territorian, if you can, [is] stay here in the Territory. You’re safe here, don’t go. If you can, cancel your Christmas holiday plans, stay here in the Northern Territory.

“Territorians first. This is what I think I need to do to make sure some of the most vulnerable people in the world stay safe,” he said in reference remote Aboriginal populations.

Are you still hopeful of travelling interstate or overseas by Christmas? Are you prepared to spend time in quarantine?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    11th Aug 2020
    I was planning a short 5 day holiday on the Gold Coast early december to take the place of a Cruise that will most likely be cancelled any day now. But now worried about that as we are from Melbourne.
    Karl Marx
    11th Aug 2020
    Unless those in NSW & Vic start doing the right thing (most are) & old Gladys & Danny boy start coming down a lot harder on those that don't which should include mandatory 14 day house arrest for those that don't comply with a bill for costs from the ADF at the end of it. What was the figure from last week in Victoria that people who were in self isolation not home, 800 in one day. Name & shame these people then house arrest for a further 14 days with a bill at the end.
    So if your Xmas & new year is ruined then the blame falls on NSW & Vic for their selfishness.
    Even today NSW cases are climbing again & Vic is still recording high case numbers (10x plus more than all the other states combined) & record death rates. Not good enough old Gladys & Danny boy.
    11th Aug 2020
    Just about all the cases in NSW have been traced back to Victoria and one person who did not do the right thing, came to NSW, infected his colleagues and then people in the places he visited.

    Karl Marx, there are people in every state including Queensland, SA, Tas and WA who are not social distancing and otherwise breaking the 'rules'. There but for the grace of God go those states.

    COVID can reignite anywhere at any time even in NT despite their threat to retain closed borders. All it takes is for a single Territorian from Victoria or even overseas.
    11th Aug 2020
    Are aussies alowed travel overseas at all ?
    11th Aug 2020
    11th Aug 2020
    MANY PEOPLE FIND CHRISTMAS VERY STRESSFUL, HAVING TO VISIT RELATIVES THEY HATE and having to hang around children they despise and have lunch or dinner with brothers and sisters they have stayed away from intentionally.
    Add to this the financial stress of having to buy presents and I am sure it is something many people have found the excuse they need to stay away.
    It's much like couples that sleep in different rooms, it's not that they hate each other it's just that they get a better nights sleep and actually it improves the relationship but many hesitate to do this even though they might be cheating on their partner because they don't won't to make their partner suspect any thing is wrong or that they are cheating .
    The one in 5 who do sleep in different rooms have a much better relationship then all those others who persist with what's they perceive is expected of them as a married couple .........................much like Christmas .........right ????
    11th Aug 2020
    I guess you sleep alone,christmas alone and pay single suplement wherever you travel.

    Like me. Ha ha.but iam happy listen to fighting couples when on holiday,if iam so lucky
    11th Aug 2020
    I find it interesting that as time goes on the date for being covid free gets pushed back further and further bit by bit - here a little there a little the information gets released to us. 18 months for borders to open in NT and dont get your hopes up about going home for Christmas!! or visiting relatives in another state. After all we have to prolong the ordeal until the vaccine becomes available. At first they said it would be more than a year for a vaccine and now we are almost there.....Christmas. Poor fella my country -
    11th Aug 2020
    Given what is available in every single State and Territory why is it such a big problem to have a holiday in your own? That is of course assuming people will have the money to holiday at all. In which case start planning for a sojourn at Stopathome and stop whining. Play like a tourist in your own town. Visit that little gallery you have never been in, find a new walk through the back streets, stop and really look at the buildings, organise a socially distant street party with your neighbours on Christmas or New Year's Eve. The options are endless. All you need is a little imagination. People need to start being grateful for what they have, not what they think they don't.
    Janelle Ward
    11th Aug 2020
    Touché KSS
    Karl Marx
    11th Aug 2020
    couldn't agree more KSS. & you can always live stream with relatives & friends. I've gone live many times on FB, just let all my family know before hand & if they miss it they can still play it later.
    This will be the new Norm for quite a while I think.
    Senior without family
    11th Aug 2020
    I am nearly always alone at Christmas anyway because I have no family. It is always a really tough time for me and this year will be no difference except even worse mentally. But at leadt Scott Morrison wont be able to chuff off to hawaii again to escape his responsibilities. I agree about those that havent complied with covid restrictions but how about the political interference in what is essentially a health matter. Why did anastasia cop such a battering defending the health of queenslanders. Both victoria and nsw and federal governments have a lot to answer for so how about some hefty fines for them to and meaningful cuts in pay that hurt.

    As for the footballers in queensland off the game wants to continue no point in fining them. It means nothing. Banned from the game for a year at least without pay at least and house arrest might get it into their thick heads that some of us are just non selfishly trying to stay alive.
    11th Aug 2020
    If you always spend Christmas alone because you have no family, why will this year be any different for you? Nothing has changed so why will it be harder 'mentally'?

    Like you I also spend Christmas by myself since all my family are overseas, so nothing will change for me either this year.

    And frankly taking potshots at the PM for daring to take a few day's leave with his family is purile and petty.
    Karl Marx
    11th Aug 2020
    I to spend Xmas alone as family are 9,000 klms away, but i have friends that I celebrate with so not really alone. My choice in retirement so can't complain but I use social media to celebrate with my family on the day & keep in touch throughout the rest of the year.
    Maybe Senior you could be with a community group, fiends or neighbours but I don't know your circumstances. Let's hope you have a stress free Xmas & new year that's more pleasant than years past.
    Have to agree with KSS, our PM is no different to anyone else & where he wants to spend holidays is his choice & shouldn't be castigated.
    As for the footballers, some are a sandwich short of a picnic, so the club has the duty of care to make sure that all rules are followed with constant reinforcement of those rules especially when they change, but when it comes to the coaches & playing staff then that's a different matter & the NRL were right in fining them etc.
    11th Aug 2020
    Didn't have to read this, I knew as soon as the word PANDEMIC was announced I just assumed Christmas as with everyday life was going to change. Even if a vaccine is developed and proven effective and safe, humans have gone through a change that will be long lived ....hopefully for the better in most of our lives, but life will change......it will be interesting to see what happens in the next few years, it is an historic event for humanity.
    11th Aug 2020
    12th Aug 2020
    If no-one had traveled outside their country or even better, outside their region of residence, in the current European summer we would not be seeing the huge rise in Covid19 cases currently occurring all over Europe, especially in the younger age groups. It's pure cause and effect. Please do the sensible thing, Australia.
    12th Aug 2020
    I think that we will be lucky to have a vaccine by year's end. For me Christmas will be at home as it has been for the last many years. I am fortunate that my children all live in Canberra so it is easy to see them.

    I am waiting impatiently for international travel restrictions to be relaxed. Under normal circumstances I would have been in Thailand today and heading in a few days time to spend time with friends in Poland, Russia and Kazakhstan. Obviously I cannot go.

    I hope that by February/March it will be possible to go to at least Thailand and ideally further.

    I am prepared to isolate at home after I travel. I did that in late March when I returned earlier than expected from India via Thailand. When I returned I stayed at home, socially isolated and washed my hands on a regular basis. Unlike many I did do the right things even though I strongly suspected that I had not been exposed to the virus in India or Thailand.
    12th Aug 2020
    I have been thinking about Christmas too but not for travel - for Christmas Lunch/Dinner and the family. I have a 'drop in' Christmas Tea and used to have a barbecue until I lost my husband. Now, with limited numbers of people allowed, I would have too many family members attending not to mention friends and acquaintances who might 'drop in'. So I am looking at 'staggering' the Christmas gathering to one family at a time over Christmas Day and Boxing Day and making them like a bigger-menu morning or afternoon tea.
    Antybody got any other ideas please?
    12th Aug 2020
    Would the writer like to clarify her info on the NT closure ...... the way I currently see it that WA, SA, AND QLD and therefore her statement just causes unnecessary angst amongst readers
    12th Aug 2020
    No Christmas this year? Joy to the world!
    Senior without family
    12th Aug 2020
    Thanks Karl but I live in a retirement village. It sometimes does put on a Christmas lunch but I am pretty sure that we will be social distancing so I will have to be sitting alone 1.5 metres away from anyone else. Even with a few bottles of wine don't relish that. Meals on wheels always deliver a Christmas meal a few days ahead and I will probably have that with the grog and try and forget it is Christmas. It is only one day anyway. I have survived that way before,
    12th Aug 2020
    While we have a batch of incompetent state and federal leaders who prefer to penalise the vast majority of healthy Australians because a). they have no idea how to beat the virus except wait for a vaccine, and b). are afraid to try any other alternatives because their health official masters tell them not to, then it is unlikely we will be able to leave any of the state gulags, let alone Australia. Jacinda Ardern locks down Auckland because of four people. What sort of leadership and decision making is that? Destroy the country first to look strong and decisive! They are all mad!

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