New South Wales will request assistance from the Australian Defence Force to police its border with Victoria, following today’s announcement that most Victorians will be banned from entering NSW as of 11:59pm tomorrow.
Speaking to the media this afternoon, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said four main roads, 33 bridges, waterways, and smaller roads will be heavily monitored to prevent non-essential visitors from Victoria from entering while the neighbouring state battles a resurgent coronavirus outbreak.
It’s apparently a job that’s too big for NSW Police Force alone, with Commissioner Fuller saying he’s contacted the Department of Defence for backup.
It’s not an entirely unprecedented response, with the Victorian Government reportedly requesting ADF support to assist the state’s beleaguered quarantine hotel system last month.
Earlier in the coronavirus crisis, ADF personnel were recruited to check on travellers who self-isolated after returning to Australia.
Also on the menu: aerial drones for remote border regions, to determine if anyone is deadset on leaving the beaten track to get into NSW.
As for folks who do have a valid reason to enter the state, Commissioner Fuller said it will take a while to suss everything out.
“The reality is that in the first 72 hours from midnight Tuesday this week, it will be difficult, not impossible, but difficult to make that crossing,” he said.
“There will be delays while we work through who are essential workers.”
Last week, NSW announced residents of Melbourne’s current COVID-19 hotspot areas could face up to six months imprisonment and a $11,000 fine if they were found to have entered NSW.
Commissioner Fuller said NSW Police are investigating if further on-the-spot fines can be applied.
Victoria has recorded more than 500 new COVID-19 cases in the past week alone.