March 23, 2023

Australia news live update: Victoria records 16 Covid deaths, 2,189 cases as Melbourne lockdown ends; NSW reports 345 cases, five deaths

Victoria announces quarantine for international arrivals ends 1 November as state records 2,189 new Covid...

Victoria announces quarantine for international arrivals ends 1 November as state records 2,189 new Covid cases and 16 deaths; NSW reports 345 cases and five deaths; 13 cases in ACT and none in Queensland; Qantas to return to 100% of staff levels in January; Scott Morrison says travel agreement with Singapore is imminent; Jacinda Ardern press conference interrupted by earthquake in New Zealand. Follow all the day’s news live

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Scott Morrison confirms he expects an agreement with Singapore on travel between the two countries in a week or so:

We are in the final stages of concluding an arrangement with the Singapore government. I was in a position, as you know, some months ago when I met with the prime minister of Singapore, prime minister Li in Singapore, to set up a new arrangement which will see our borders open more quickly to Singapore.

We anticipate that being able to be achieved within the next week or so, as we would open up to more visa class holders coming out of the Singapore. We will see that occur. To those ports here in Australia that will be open in the same way as they are here in Sydney and we would expect to see that align pretty much with the timetable that Qantas has announced today regarding when they will have flights going to Singapore.

Australia is en route to be one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, and here in New South Wales, as well as in the ACT and Victoria charging in behind as well, we are seeing those vaccination rates continue to rise. The national plan was all about opening up Australia safely so we can remain safely open, and that’s what we are seeing here today.

And that means planes get back in the sky, it means people go out and get their hair cut again – as I’m sure they’re doing in large numbers today down in Melbourne and across Victoria. It means that families are coming together again. It means kids are going back to school. It means the reunification of our country which I know we have all been so key to see. That begins with this.

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