Health authorities are scrambling to trace a Covid-positive Sydneysider’s movements after he visited a number of Victorian homes while infectious. It comes as the state’s run of zero cases continued for a 12th consecutive day.
NSW Police will funnel officers into southwest metropolitan Sydney from Friday morning to enforce compliance with public health orders after the state recorded 38 local COVID-19 cases in a single day. “Now is the time to make sure we stop this virus,” Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon said at a media conference on…
Victoria has been dealt a fresh Covid scare, after a positive case from Greater Sydney entered the state.
The infected man works for a removalist company and visited a number of Victorian households as part of his work.
He stayed overnight in Victoria on Thursday night, July 8, before travelling interstate to South Australia.
Health Minister Martin Foley said a number of people would be forced into isolation, and new exposure sites were expected to be listed on Monday.
Victorian health authorities are desperately scrambling to trace the infectious man’s movements.
It comes after the border was shut to NSW and the ACT at midnight and could remain closed for weeks amid a growing Covid outbreak.
Victoria shut its border to NSW and the ACT at midnight. Picture: Simon Dallinger
The drastic measure – now in force – means anyone returning from NSW must get tested and isolate for 14 days.
But border confusion had already begun with travellers from NSW safe zones who’d tested negative days ago mistakenly told they must now quarantine for a fortnight.
The nation’s chief medical officer has weighed in, declaring the commonwealth did not support a hard border closure.
The border chaos comes as Victoria’s run of no locally-acquired cases continued with no new cases of coronavirus – in the community or in hotel quarantine – detected in the past 24 hours.
More than 19,000 tests were carried out across the state and 12,000 vaccine doses were administered.
There are 19 active cases in Victoria.
Victoria’s hard border move — which made all of NSW and the ACT a red zone from midnight — followed calls for holiday-makers to return home.
Victoria Police stopping vehicles on Sunday. Picture: Simon Dallinger
Sydney was on Monday bracing for more than 100 new coronavirus cases after the worsening crisis turned deadly.
Daniel Andrews urged anyone trying to enter Victoria to follow the rules. Those who do not will face fines of up to $5000 and will be flown home after being put in hotel quarantine.
“We do not want this virus here in our state and everyone has a part to play in protecting our Victorian community,’’ the Premier said. “If you do the wrong thing you will be found, you will be fined and you have every chance of becoming very, very famous.”
Acting chief health officer Deb Friedman said NSW’s worsening Covid situation left authorities with no option. The state on Sunday recorded 77 new cases while a 90-year-old Sydney woman who got the virus from family died.
“With case numbers continuing to increase in NSW, Victorian public health authorities are concerned about the risks of transmission beyond current red zones in greater Sydney and surrounds, and the potential risks this poses to the Victorian community from people entering our state,” she said.
Teething problems even before the border shutdown raised questions about whether Victoria’s permit system could cope with the demand.
Traveller Peter Brereton, who lives in regional NSW, was early on Friday granted entry to Victoria with his wife after her mother died.
But despite having isolated until they received negative tests, the pair was on Sunday sent a text message saying they must re-enter isolation for 14 days.
A checkpoint at the Chiltern Park rest area, near the Victoria-NSW border. Picture: Simon Dallinger
“It really does demonstrate the incompetence. They can’t align their ducks,” he said.
Victoria’s Health Department said the incident was isolated but it would investigate.
Border bubbles will be in place so locals can move freely under the border shutdown.
Australia’s chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, said the commonwealth did not agree with a hard border closure.
“We do not support it,” he said. “But we can understand — they want to make sure that they are protected.”
State Nationals MP Peter Walsh, based at Echuca, called the closure “hasty”.
“I know people in NSW don’t vote in our elections, but all our border communities rely heavily on each half being economically viable; and Daniel Andrews has just pronounced a punishment that simply does not fit the crime,” Mr Walsh said.
“And it’s nowhere near good enough to say the bubble still functions; the economy needs to access all Victoria, not just a strip along the river.”
The Kerr family from Victoria made it to their holiday in Cairns. Photo: Brian Cassey
People queue to get Covid tests in Auburn Central, western Sydney. Picture: Toby Zerna
Jocelyn Robinson of Mulwala said it was a devastating blow. “Border communities are suffering again and it’s not fair,” she said. “We went through this last year with the situation in Melbourne and now we’re being punished for what’s happening hundreds of kilometres from us.”
Wodonga Mayor Kev Poulton said anxiety among residents had been building but reinstatement of a border bubble was welcome.
“The community would like to see number plate checking rather than a hard checkpoint this time. The closures really do split the city,” he said.
The border closure came as Covid vaccine task force co-ordinator Lieutenant General John Frewen was forced to defend the federal government’s new ‘Arm Yourself’ vaccine campaign after opposition leader Anthony Albanese said the new ads didn’t cut it.
Almost 9.1 million Covid-19 doses have been administered nationwide, and Victoria has given the most shots – more than 1.2 million.