New limits on Vic cap to fit Tasmanians

·2-min read

Victoria has revised its limits on international arrivals to make room for returning Tasmanians, while Queensland wants its numbers of returning travellers halved.

The federal government has not been able to organise Tasmanian repatriation flights ahead of international arrivals resuming in Victoria, so the state will cut its own capacity to make room for them, Acting Premier James Merlino says.

From April 15, 120 places per week in Victoria's 1000-person arrival cap will be allocated to Tasmanian residents arriving on repatriation flights.

Mr Merlino cited "a safe and steady resumption" of COVID-19 hotel quarantine in Victoria as the reason for the decision.

The acting premier also said his government had made a proposal to allow 120 people from an "economic cohort" to enter per week, but that the federal government had rejected it.

"This is a disappointing outcome which would have resulted in an increase in economic activity for our state," Mr Merlino said on Friday.

"We will continue to work with the Commonwealth and utilise these places as soon as this matter is agreed to."

It's expected that all 332 Tasmanian residents due to return will arrive by May 13, allowing Victoria's cap to expand to 1000 arrivals per week.

International flights have been suspended in Victoria since February 13, when a hotel quarantine worker contracted the highly infectious UK virus strain from returned travellers at an airport quarantine hotel, sparking a statewide five-day lockdown.

The state has since effectively eradicated the virus, with just one current active case.

Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has raised concerns about the number of positive cases coming into her state and has indicated she will seek to drive arrivals down.

Speaking in the wake of a snap three-day lockdown of Brisbane prompted by coronavirus clusters linked to two healthcare workers, Ms Palaszczuk said infectious strains coming into Australia were putting the public at risk.

"I am going to raise the high number of positive cases that are coming from overseas and the sorts of demands that is putting on our hospitals and in other states, on the hotel quarantine," she said on Friday.

"Maybe until the vaccination program is ramped up by the federal government, the number of returned travellers needs to decrease Australia-wide."

Ms Palaszczuk said she had already asked Prime Minister Scott Morrison if Queensland's international passenger numbers could be halved but had not yet received a reply.

The next meeting of the national cabinet is on Friday, April 9.