Victoria’s hard border with regional New South Wales will dissolve tonight, thanks to a new permit system which promises to make domestic travel more straightforward – and $5,000 more expensive for anyone who breaks the rules.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews today said his state’s hard border with NSW, installed on January 1 in response to Sydney’s recent coronavirus outbreak, will end at 5.59pm tonight.
At the same time, Victoria will introduce its new colour-coded permit system, which ranks different regions nationwide based on the perceived risk of coronavirus transmission.
Here’s how the new system is poised to work:
Anyone travelling to Victoria from a green zone will need to apply for a border permit through the Service Victoria site.
“Once in Victoria, and as always, you should watch for symptoms and get tested should you feel unwell,” the State Government said in a statement.
Anyone arriving to Victoria from an orange zone must apply for a border permit and undergo a coronavirus test within 72 hours of arrival. Folks will be required to isolate before and after the test and until they receive a negative result, as is procedure for tests across the board.
“Regional New South Wales, from 5:59pm tonight, will become orange, so will move out of the red zone,” Andrews told the media this afternoon.
Which brings us to…
Nobody who visited a designated red zone over the past 14 days will be allowed across the Victorian border, unless they have an exemption or exception.
“If you try to enter Victoria at a land border, you will be turned away,” the State Government said.
It doesn’t end there. Anyone who arrives by air or sea from a red zone and without an exception or exemption will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days – and they’ll cop a $4,957 fine.
VIC-NSW border communities will be exempted, with those residents required to prove their address when crossing. The State Government says folks with existing permits will be allowed to use ’em, “so long as they are consistent with public health’s advice on zones.”
Both the greater Sydney and Brisbane areas will remain red zones for the time being, but Andrews said those categorisations would come under daily review.
Barring some Victorians from returning home is a bold move. But in a statement, Andrews said “until we have a vaccine, we’ll need to continue to react and respond to changing circumstances.”
NSW today recorded three new locally-acquired cases of COVID-19, while Victoria counted its fifth consecutive day with no new local cases.
NSW recorded three new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.
Eight cases were also recorded in returned travellers, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,829. pic.twitter.com/JTHfvEUvOj
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) January 11, 2021