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One nation or 8? COVID fuels Australian power shift toward states

Temporary internal border closures seen affecting country's identity after pandemic

Australian states' individual responses to COVID-19 have shown they "have a lot more power than we probably realized," one expert told Nikkei Asia.   © Reuters

MELBOURNE -- Australian states' tough internal border policies to fight COVID-19 have, at times, arguably split the nation into multiple mini-countries.

They have blocked a fully vaccinated Sydney woman from visiting her cancer-ridden daughter in the state of Victoria. They stopped a New South Wales baby from entering Queensland for a crucial brain scan. Starting Monday, Australians will be able to fly to places like London and Singapore as international travel gradually resumes, but east coast residents still cannot enter their own westernmost state even on compassionate grounds.

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