Victorian health authorities have ordered the effective closure of the state’s border with New South Wales.
- The effective border closure begins at 11:59pm on Sunday night
- Premier Dan Andrews warned people not to do the wrong thing
- Victoria recorded its 11th straight day of no new local coronavirus infections on Sunday
The Department of Health says with case numbers continuing to increase in New South Wales, it is concerned about the risk of transmission beyond current red zones in Greater Sydney and its surrounds.
NSW recorded another 77 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, 22 of which have no known source.
Victoria’s Acting Chief Health Officer announced all of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory would become a red zone under the state’s travel permit system at 11:59 tonight.
It means the Victorian border is effectively closed to New South Wales and the ACT except for Victorian residents returning on a red zone permit for 14 days of quarantine – and for people with exemptions.
Catch up on the main COVID-19 news from July 11 with a look back at our blog
Earlier in the day, Premier Daniel Andrews urged Victorians to come home if they were still in NSW.
Mr Andrews hinted a border closure with the entirety of NSW could be imminent and no-one had an excuse if they got stuck on the wrong side.
“Be quick about it. Border conditions can change. We have been abundantly clear: Don’t delay, come back today,” he said.
Mr Andrews said people coming back from NSW must follow the conditions of their permit.
“If you do the wrong thing you will be found, you will be fined and you have every chance of becoming very, very famous,” he said.
“So please do as you are asked. It is the right thing to do. We do not want the virus here in our state.”
Mr Andrews clarified he would not name and shame offenders but no-one should contribute to spreading the virus in Victoria.
“But if you do the wrong thing there’s every chance people will find out about it,” he said.
The NSW Premier says she expects local COVID-19 cases to be over 100 tomorrow.
No new cases in Victoria
Victoria recorded its 11th straight day of no new local coronavirus infections on Sunday. There were no new infections reported in Victoria’s hotel quarantine.
More than 23,000 COVID-19 tests were processed on Saturday and almost 13,000 vaccine doses administered.
The number of active cases in the state has dropped to 20.
Mr Andrews said he had offered the NSW Premier support and lessons from Victoria’s lockdowns last year.
“If there’s a problem in Sydney there’s a problem everywhere,” he said.
“We’ve all got an interest and Victorians, perhaps, have the most interest because we’ve given the most.”
‘Hopefully it’s different at Christmas time’
Border communities say the situation has been stressful and frustrating.
Natasha Bartlett travelled from Melbourne to Wodonga to see her mother for her 60th birthday and said it was probably the last time she would see her for some time.
Ms Barlett’s family lives in Albury and her husband’s lives in Wodonga.
“Whenever we come up here we have to really be on the ball as to whether NSW is orange or whether it’s a red zone, whether we have to have permits and can see each other,” she said.
“I don’t know when the next time will be when we come back up here. Hopefully it’s different at Christmas time.”
Waiaria Putaranui, who plays for the Border Bandits rugby team, said she would be gutted if there was a lockdown.
“It might mean our season is over, which means we could potentially be playing our last game next weekend, which would suck.
“We’ll see how it goes. We’re ready for it and we’ll deal with it when it gets here.”
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