Victoria border closed to Greater Sydney and Central Coast
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews issued a veiled swipe at his NSW counterparts for their response to the growing northern beaches cluster as he slammed the borders shut to many NSW travellers.
Speaking at today’s press conference, Mr Andrews said the Victorian reaction to its second wave was “stronger than those that are in NSW at the moment”.
“That’s just a statement of fact. It’s not a statement of judgement,” Mr Andrews said.
“But I think (what) the NSW government have outlined, they have further steps today, they are largely of an advisory nature and who knows how things will play out over the next couple of days.”
Mr Andrews said he would not “wait around while (NSW) add to their rules” and instead declared Greater Sydney and the Central Coast a “red zone” and slammed the borders shut to many NSW travellers.
“We are going to protect what we have built and that is why the border will be closed from midnight tonight.” He said the basic message was a “very clear one”.
“From midnight tonight all of Greater Sydney and the Central Coast is a red zone stop you cannot come to Victoria,” he said in a press conference today.
“If you do then you will have to hotel quarantine for 14 days.
“If you are a returning Victorian, if this is where you live, then you have an extra 24 hours to get home and quarantine in your home. You won’t have to go to a hotel. If, however, as a returning Victorian you arrive after midnight Monday, then you will go into mandatory hotel quarantine.”
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South Australia has also just announced it will close its border with Greater Sydney from midnight tonight, after Western Australia reinstated its hard border with NSW from midnight last night.
It comes as NSW recorded 30 new cases of the virus overnight, 28 of which are linked to the Avalon cluster.
The NSW government today reintroduced a maximum limit of 10 guests for homes across Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast until midnight on Wednesday.
The northern beaches outbreak has had nationwide repercussions on the movement of Australians in the lead-up to Christmas. Here’s how each state has responded to the cluster.
“The northern beaches will become a hot zone and what that means is that nobody who is from those parts of Sydney, Greater Sydney or has visited that part of greater Sydney will be allowed to travel back to Melbourne or any part of Victoria,” Mr Andrews said today.
“These are not easy decisions to make and it will mean significant inconvenience for many people.
“With so many exposure sites, a growing number, with every chance that there are people who have this virus who have not yet been tested, have not yet been contacted and are not necessarily staying away from others, there could be many more cases, not just in the northern beaches but in other parts of Sydney,” he said.
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“If you are from Greater Sydney do not come to Melbourne. Do not go anywhere in Victoria and as far as Victorians are concerned, do not travel to Sydney.
“Do not travel to Greater Sydney. They cannot be clearer than that. Because they can tell you when you come home you will finish up in mandatory hotel quarantine.
“These are not easy decisions, but they are on the best public health advice. We believe they are proportionate and we believe it is appropriate we take the steps rather than waiting for NSW to have a different set of rules in place.
“(We) cannot control what they do, we can only control our (response) and that is exactly what they intend to do.”
Victoria Police is preparing to set up checkpoints on the NSW border as it moves to implement tougher measures to protect Victoria from Sydney’s growing cluster.
There were no new local cases reported in Victoria, taking the state’s COVID-free stretch to 51 consecutive days after residents endured tough second lockdown restrictions up until late October.