The Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has confirmed that the states’ border will remain closed to the rest of the country for a minimum of 18 months.

Mr. Gunner revealed that the estimated 18-month timeframe was “conservative”, and has urged Territorians to reconsider scheduled Christma holiday plans.

As it stands, Victoria and Sydney are considered coronavirus hotspots by the Northern Territory. Those travelling from either states are required to undergo two weeks in quarantine at their own expense of $2500.

“We’re much more likely to add spots, than remove them,” Gunner shared with the ABC on Monday.

“We’re working towards at least an 18-month window from today, towards the end of next year – is how we’re starting to resourcing our borders. We’re making sure we keep those hard border controls in place, including extra health officials to make sure we can monitor arrivals at the airport.”

He continued, “The Territory is closed to anyone from a high-risk area. That’s all of Victoria and Sydney – the two big areas, so about half of country.”

Last week, the Northern Territory government removed hotspot declarations for Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan, and the Blue Mountains and the Eurobodalla Shire in New South Wales.

The Minister has emphasise that the restrictions on those coming from Victoria and Sydney are indefinite.

“We have an indefinite ban on Victoria and Sydney keeps bubbling away to the point where I can’t give you a date when that would ever lift,” he said. “My advice to every Territorian is, if you can, stay here in the Territory.

“You’re safe there, don’t go. So if you can, cancel your Christmas holiday plans. Stay here if you can.”

He continued, “Territorians first. This is what I think I need to do to make sure some of the most vulnerable people in the world stay safe,”