Authorities in Victoria will tighten the Australian state’s border with New South Wales from Tuesday evening in an effort to contain the spread of the Delta variant of the virus that causes Covid-19.
NSW registered 207 new cases on Monday, while Victoria identified two more infections.
Under the changes, residents of the so-called “border bubble” can only cross the border to enter Victoria without a permit for “necessary goods and services”, including medical care and getting a Covid-19 test or shot; concern and compassionate reasons; paid or voluntary work; Education; or sports and exercise at a club or recreational facility.
Brett Sutton, Victoria’s chief health officer, said the changes would take effect Tuesday at 11:59 p.m.
People crossing the border to enter Victoria cannot travel further than is reasonably necessary. “In other words, if you’re from Albury, you can’t shop in Wangaratta or Melbourne if you can get the essentials you need in Wodonga,” Sutton said.
Residents of Victoria who intend to enter NSW are subject to the same restrictions.
The Queensland lockdown will last until at least Sunday after authorities decided the first three-day stay-at-home period would be “inadequate”. Tuesday would be over.
Police in Victoria said residents were “98.9 percent” compliant when observing border controls related to the most recent closures.
Victoria Police said it had deployed 1,300 officers to enforce the coronavirus in the state of 6.8 million people, including 400 itinerant patrols near the borders of New South Wales and South Australia.
Police have checked at least 76,630 people and said most of those who violated the rules “were naive or unaware of the required process”.
The agency said the main problem was that truck drivers misfile permit applications. “The drivers have tried to do the right thing; however, they made mistakes in the process,” the police said in a statement.
“In most of these cases, the drivers were warned and instructed to go back to their original destination and return with the appropriate paperwork.”
If fines have been issued, it will be for people entering Victoria without a permit or waiver certificate.
“Very few fines have been issued on a daily basis – sometimes none – as most drivers follow the rules and try to do the right thing.”
Some NSW border areas – the town of Wagga Wagga, Hay and Lockhart shires and the borough of Murrumbidgee – are no longer included in the cross-border travel bubble and are considered “extreme risk zones” in line with the rest of NSW.
Residents require a waiver, exception, transit permit, or specified workers permit to enter Victoria.
South Australia and Norfolk Island are Orange Zones and people who have been in these areas in the last 14 days and are traveling to Victoria must apply for an Orange Zone permit. People cannot apply for an orange zone permit if they have also been in a red or extreme risk zone in the past 14 days.