News State Victoria News As fear and COVID infections grow, Victoria mulls tightening NSW border

As fear and COVID infections grow, Victoria mulls tightening NSW border

The signs came down not so long ago - now they could be going back up. Photo: AAP
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Victorian health officials are considering further border restrictions with NSW after concerns the Sydney coronavirus outbreak has spread beyond the northern beaches.

“We remain extremely concerned about the outbreak in NSW and the likelihood that it has seeded beyond the northern beaches,” Health Minister Martin Foley said Saturday evening.

Victoria’s health minister Martin Foley urges Victorians to remain vigilant. Photo: AAP

Authorities are looking at expanding the “red zone”, which currently only covers the direct Sydney peninsula area where the latest virus cases have been detected.

An additional 23 cases were diagnosed in NSW in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, taking the northern beaches outbreak to 40.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian flagged in her media conference on Saturday morning that the same number or more virus cases were expected to be recorded on Sunday.

The Northern Beaches region went into strict lockdown on Saturday until Wednesday and Ms Berejiklian also indicated the rest of Sydney could be facing some level of restrictions by Sunday.

Victorian contact tracers have been racing to protect the state’s hard-won gains against any virus spread from recent Sydney travellers.

The government said on Saturday evening it had sent more than 27,000 text messages to people who had flown into Victoria from NSW between 11 and 17 December.

Working the phones

Flight manifests have identified 321 people from the northern beaches area, and contact tracers have called 305 of those.

Health officials have identified 70 primary close contacts and they are now in quarantine.

The Victorian government has issued close to 90,000 travel permits for people coming from NSW.

Authorised officers have begun meeting passengers coming off flights from NSW and Victoria Police are patrolling the border by road.

Earlier on Friday, Mr Foley warned Victorians not to travel to Sydney unless they want to be stuck there.

Anyone coming from Sydney is asked to get tested and isolate pending the results, while anyone who has visited the northern beaches will be denied entry.
Testing sites have been set up at terminals one and four at Tullamarine airport.

Masks will also be mandatory in airports from midnight.

Travellers from Sydney are also urged not to travel into the state.
Victoria has gone 50 days without a locally acquired case of COVID-19.