Record COVID-19 cases in Victoria will see the NSW Government introduce further restrictions on entering NSW from Victoria with the establishment of a strict new border zone, tightened permit conditions and stronger enforcement powers.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said from midnight Tuesday 21 July a border zone, clearly defined along the Murray River, will restrict entry to NSW for Victorians to extremely limited purposes.
“The growing rates of community transmission in Victoria have us on high alert and the health advice clearly indicates we need to have stricter border closures in place, making it harder to get a permit and easier to cancel them,” Mr Hazzard said.
Under a permit, NSW border residents will be restricted in their reasons for travelling into the Victorian side of the border zone. If they travel beyond the border zone into Victoria, they will be required to self-isolate upon return for 14 days.
Any other NSW resident who crosses the Murray River, or otherwise enters Victoria or has been there in the last 14 days, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on their return to NSW. All NSW residents are strongly urged not to travel to Victoria.
All currently issued permits and any issued between now and the commencement of the border zone will expire at midnight on Tuesday and people will have to reapply for a new permit if they remain eligible to.
“From midnight Tuesday 21 July, border zone residents with a permit will only be able to cross into the other side of the NSW-Victorian border zone to go to work or attend an education institution if they can’t work or learn from home, or to obtain medical care, supplies or health services,” Mr Hazzard said.
“On top of that, we’re strengthening the rules so the fewer people granted permits to enter NSW must now carry a copy of their permit and produce it when directed by enforcement officers.
“I make no apologies for taking the steps required to protect the health and jobs of NSW citizens.”
Mr Hazzard said the new rules will be boosted to give authorities greater enforcement powers to stop people entering NSW and to direct people who are not NSW residents to leave if they present an unacceptable health risk.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said people entering NSW from Victoria, in particular greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, pose a risk of increasing COVID-19 in NSW.
“The pandemic is not over and Victoria is seeing significant levels of community transmission in many areas of the State. Tightening restrictions on the borders will further protect the health of NSW citizens,” Dr Chant said.
“I also want to encourage everyone to continue to come forward for testing. Early detection and diagnosis of cases in the community is going to be key for us in managing and responding to COVID-19.”
The conditions imposed on permits under the Order are being tightened. The revised Order will:
- require COVID Safety Plans for people entering NSW for child access or care arrangements, and freight workers
- require other critical service workers to self-isolate when not providing their critical services
- require people attending boarding school or universities as either staff or students to self-isolate for 14 days and obtain a negative swab before attending school
- restrict entry for medical or hospital services to only be allowed where those services are not available in Victoria or cannot be accessed remotely
- prohibit seasonal workers coming from Victoria into NSW
- require any person who accompanies a person with a permit such as a dependent child to also comply with any conditions on the permit, including self-isolating.
On Monday 20 July from 2.00pm border residents can check Service NSW to determine if their address falls within the newly established border restrictions.