Call for national cabinet talk on hotspots

National cabinet will further discuss using hotspots instead of border restrictions in the pandemic.
National cabinet will further discuss using hotspots instead of border restrictions in the pandemic.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison faces pressure to refine the definition of a coronavirus hotspot to be applicable to regional cities.

National cabinet will meet on Friday - for the first time in a month - to further discuss using hotspots instead of border restrictions to manage movement during the coronavirus pandemic.

The discussion was put on hold because state and territory leaders could not agree on a definition.

The proposed system is based on two sets of triggers - one for big cities, and one for the regions - based on the number of locally acquired cases.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr will propose a third hotspot definition be adopted, for regional cities such as Canberra, Newcastle, Geelong and the Gold Coast.

"I wouldn't want a threshold set too high that was problematic or, equally, set at three (cases) - that would be one household and that is probably too low," Mr Barr told AAP.

"We are looking for something in between which I think is a common sense position."

He said the ACT had shown an area can manage the risk with well-informed health advice and without having a hard border closure.

The ACT has about 70 vehicle border crossings into NSW which would have made border management a massive exercise.

Tasmania is set to reopen its borders to every state and territory, except Victoria and NSW, on October 26.

A decision on NSW will be made a week out from the reopening date.

Almost 1000 vulnerable Australians from a list of 4000 stranded overseas have returned home.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the federal government close to finalising arrangements to use the Howard Springs quarantine facility near Darwin.

He said Australia was working quietly to clear the backlog of thousands of Australians trying to return.

"We're moving heaven and earth frankly," he told reporters in Brisbane.

Tourist flights from New Zealand will start arriving in NSW and the Northern Territory from Friday under one-way travel arrangements.

"If Queensland doesn't want to apply two weeks quarantine on Kiwis coming into Queensland, they'd be able to benefit from it as well," Mr Morrison said.

Tourism Australia is launching a new drive to encourage people to holiday interstate once the domestic borders reopen, in an effort to save countless travel businesses hanging on by a thread.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported the lowest number of Australians coming back from an overseas holiday on record, with just 8070 people returning in August.

Victoria recorded 12 new coronavirus infections and one more death on Tuesday, taking the national toll to 899.

The 14-day rolling average has increased slightly in metropolitan Melbourne but is stable in regional Victoria.

NSW recorded 13 new coronavirus cases.

Seven of the cases were locally transmitted and the other six were overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

Queensland has continued its streak of no new infections and there are now just two active cases across the state, which is the lowest number since July 21.

Australian Associated Press