The Australian government is halving international flight arrivals to ease pressure on hotel quarantine systems, meaning 4000 fewer people will be able to return home each week.
Returning Australians will also be made to pay for their two-week stays in hotel quarantine under changes announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday.
The announcement comes as the country tries to manage a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases, with Victoria recording 288 new infections on Friday.
The state now has over 1000 active cases, up from 60 last month.
Mr Morrison says the “very concerning” situation in Victoria shows how important it is for people to keep their distance from each other.
Tasmania has delayed plans to reopen its borders while Western Australia has put off a final easing of restrictions as the states keep an eye on the situation in Victoria.
NSW had 14 new cases as of Thursday night, with the state’s health minister later highlighting a further two of serious concern.
One was a man in his 50s who had been at a pub in Sydney’s southwest on July 3, the same night as an earlier case.
The Crossroads Hotel in Casula has been closed for deep cleaning and a COVID-19 testing service has been set up in its car park.
The second case was a man who had driven from Melbourne on the eve of the border closure and had reached a caravan park in the Sutherland area when he tested positive.
The ACT had one new case on Friday, linked to four others related to the Melbourne outbreaks, while a US marine newly arrived in Darwin tested positive during initial quarantine screening.
Australian Associated Press