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Tasmania offers to accept Afghan refugees in bid to free-up national quarantine facilities

Tasmania’s Premier Peter Gutwein says he is willing to accept Afghan refugees or more returning Australians to help free-up quarantine facilities in other states.

On Friday, Mr Gutwein said he had informed the federal government of the offer for Tasmania to “do our bit” while acknowledging it would threaten the state’s COVID-free status.

“That could mean that we might take a repat flight coming from another country, to enable quarantine to be opened up in one of the larger centres on the mainland to take additional refugees,” he said.

“I do want to get Tasmanians ready for it.

“If we take Afghan refugees, if we take a repat flight, the chances of there being COVID-19 on either of those flights would be very high.”

The federal government has agreed to resettle 3,000 Afghan refugees within the 13,750 places in the country’s humanitarian program.

He said Tasmanians returning from Victoria could re-enter the state and undergo home quarantine.

For the 100 Tasmanians in NSW, he said the number of hotel quarantine places will be doubled from 150 to 300.

“At the moment, we’re looking to double our hotel quarantine capacity to come back… We are looking to assist those Tasmanians who have been caught (outside of Tasmania).”