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Australians have passed their greatest test, says Morrison

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The Prime Minister has applauded the nation’s strength during the coronavirus pandemic as more quarantine-free travel opens up across Australia.

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Travellers from NSW and Victoria are set to touchdown in Western Australia without the need to quarantine for the first time in almost nine months.

Under changes that came into effect overnight, the states have been reclassified as very low risk, leaving South Australians as the only visitors facing travel restrictions.

But SA travellers will no longer require exemptions to enter WA from the end of this week, although they will still need to self-quarantine.

Queensland will open up to Adelaide this weekend as long as there are no unlinked cases in the coming days.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 2020 was a hard year for Australians as COVID-19 spread.

“Despite the challenges of this year I believe Australia is stronger today than it was a year ago, and I believe Australia will be stronger again next year,” he told a joint party-room meeting on Tuesday.

“Australians have been tried and Australians have passed the test.”

But Morrison acknowledged the battle against coronavirus continued, saying the government was poised for further challenges including in aged care, where most of the nation’s coronavirus deaths have occurred.

Victoria has now gone 39 days without a new local coronavirus case as the government prepares to pass laws to charge returned international arrivals for hotel quarantine.

The state has this week started to accept international flights again after they were put on hold after the virus spread out of the system, resulting in Victoria’s deadly outbreak.

WA Premier Mark McGowan has warned the state’s hard border could return in a heartbeat if circumstances change.

His approach has been met by concerns from the airline and business industry, who say the sectors needs time to prepare for flight disruptions.

McGowan has also ruled out moving to the more targeted hotspot definition used in other states, saying WA’s system is simpler and more effective.

Fears of undetected COVID-19 transmission in Sydney have been allayed after no locally acquired cases were detected following a hotel quarantine worker catching the virus last week.

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