Northern Territory border to stay closed for 18 months, says chief minister

Travel to the NT may be off the cards until well into 2021 as the chief minister puts "Territorians first".

The Northern Territory chief minister expects the region’s hard border to be in place for the next 18 months, as extra police are recruited to monitor arrivals.

Speaking to ABC News this morning, Michael Gunner said he is putting “Territorians first” and will keep the border closed to COVID-19 hotspots well into 2021.

Currently, the Northern Territory border is closed to anyone travelling from News South Wales and Victoria.

Visitors can travel to the Northern Territory from other states and territories but must complete a border entry form.

Gunner said the territory was more likely to add more hotspots to its list than remove them.

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

“My advice to every Territorian, if you can, 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.”

Gunner said extra police have been recruited to keep the hard borders in place and monitor arrivals at the airport.

“We’re working towards at least an 18-month window from today, towards the end of next year, is how we’re starting to resource our borders,” he said.

“We’re working towards an 18-month window from here. That’s conservative, probably.”

The strict border news comes as the Northern Territory has just three active cases currently, with no evidence of community transmission.

More reading

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State-by-state update on border closures and openings
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