A hard border closure between New South Wales and Victoria is looming, after Victorians were given a final warning to come home from regional NSW on Saturday.
This comes after NSW recorded 50 new cases of COVID-19, of those, 26 were infectious within the community. That is a concern for Victorian health authorities, who are anxious about COVID spreading from Sydney.
“If you are a Victorian in regional NSW, you should have left already; you need to come home now,” Victoria’s COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said on Saturday afternoon.
“The chances are that at some point in the coming hours or days, we will be forced to upgrade NSW to red.
“This thing’s on a razor’s edge.”
Two anonymous senior Victorian cabinet ministers told The Age that a decision on a hard border closure would be imminent.
NSW recorded 50 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night. pic.twitter.com/0exyFeODqB
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) July 10, 2021
As it currently stands, Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast of NSW are considered red zones and any Victorians in those zones must quarantine for 14-days.
A hard border closure would mean Victorians would be shut out of their state, similarly to what happened last year when the borders were closed.
Weimer confirmed that they did not know how many Victorians were currently living in NSW, but said between 200 and 300 were returning from Sydney each day on red-zone permits.
“That’s a pretty small number and has been fairly consistent for a few days,” Weimar said.
NSW closing the NSW/Victoria border pic.twitter.com/JinWpmtSfu
— REEBOK PUMP (@SecretCommando) July 6, 2020
Today it was also confirmed that a sixty-one passenger Qantas flight from Tasmania via Melbourne would need to isolate after a health worker tested positive to COVID-19. All those on board the QF1542 flight have been told to isolate and get tested.
“It is an exceptionally long shot, but out of an abundance of caution both ourselves … (and the) Tasmanian public health team have decided to take that very precautious stance to make sure that any remote chance of this person being positive while they were in Tasmania, or the four hours (they were) in Melbourne, that we just run that to ground,” Weimar said.
“My thanks to 61 passengers who have been contacted.”Image: Getty Images / Darrian Traynor / Lisa Maree Williams