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PM wants balance on state border policies

Scott Morrison has taken the opportunity to have a dig at the Queensland Labor government’s border policy on a number of occasions over the weekend while on the hustings with his state LNP colleagues.

Opening a new military vehicle centre in Redland on Brisbane’s southwest outskirts on Sunday, the prime minister said he had no quibble with border closure policies.

“The issue is that they should only be there as long as they have to be,” he said with LNP state opposition leader Deb Frecklington by his side,

“You have got to balance the economics with the health and when they can be safely opened, and I hope that’s very soon.”

It came as Queensland again reported no new cases, but health authorities are urging Townsville residents to get tested after traces of the virus were detected in local sewage.

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the situation in Townsville was worrying considering the city hadn’t reported a case for many weeks.

Meanwhile, Australia is grimly edging towards 900 COVID-19 related deaths after Victoria added to its toll.

Victoria reported another death on Sunday, ending a three-day stretch without a fatality.

It takes Victoria’s death count from the virus to 810 and the national toll to 898.

There were 12 new cases reported in the state, bringing the rolling average in metropolitan Melbourne to 9.3 cases per day, while the figure for regional areas was 0.4.

Premier Daniel Andrews felt compelled to extend his state of emergency and state of disaster by another four weeks to November 8.

He said the figures showed this second wave was stubborn, but he was prepared to ease some restrictions next Sunday, albeit not as big as had been hoped.

But he acknowledged people were getting weary and frustrated by the restrictions.

“We all want this to be over … but we can’t pretend it is over just because we want it to be,” he told reporters on Sunday.

Meanwhile, NSW recorded five new infections of COVID-19 as a cluster at a private clinic grew and patients at a radiology practice were warned to monitor their health for symptoms.

Mr Morrison also said he had been speaking to a number leaders in the Pacific and Asia, including Japan and South Korea, about potential travel arrangements in the future.

But at this stage New Zealanders are on course to be the first to come to NSW, the ACT and Northern Territory, but not Queensland because of the two-week quarantine requirement that is still in place for travellers.

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