Premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged people not to travel to the towns on the NSW-Victoria border and vice versa as the probability of coronavirus contagion was “extremely high”.
As Victoria announced a further 134 new coronavirus cases, Ms Berejiklian issued an urgent warning to the people in her state to avoid towns on the border.
“I ask everybody in those border communities, including residents in NSW who live in Albury or Moama or other place across the border, do not travel to other parts of NSW unless you absolutely have to,” she said.
“If you are an Albury resident, we do not recommend you travelling to other parts of NSW and if we feel in the next few days, or as early as tomorrow, that we need to further protect the community, we will consider what we do north of Albury.
“Now, I know that's an imposition also for people who live in other parts of NSW, but my strong warning to people in NSW is do not travel to those border communities unless you absolutely have to.”
Ms Berejiklian said NSW authorities were only able to control what’s happening on her side of the border and flagged further changes were coming.
“But given the appreciation we have for police and Service NSW in standing up the permit process that carries with it enormous risk, because when you have communities mixing with each other, crossing a border,” she said.
“So I will stress that the government is considering what further action we can take to make sure the bubble, as we call it, of those border communities is maintained.”
Ms Berejiklian also flagged her government was looking at changing some restrictions.
"I also want to foreshadow that, it won't be anything major, but we are considering tweaking some health orders in New South Wales to ensure additional safety in relation to some types of gatherings,” she said.
"We'll have more to say about that tomorrow (Thursday) morning, but I want everybody to be on notice that we're reviewing, given we have so many permits that have been issued."
Eight new coronavirus cases in NSW
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant confirmed the state recorded eight new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
"Seven were in returned travellers in hotel quarantine. There's an eighth case, which is a woman in her 30s from southwestern Sydney who tested positive for COVID-19," Dr Chant said.
The point of the woman’s infection is being looked into, but she had a close contact with some Liverpool Hospital staff who are also in isolation pending the outcome of this investigation.
Dr Chant also said there was a teenager from Victoria who had been holidaying in Merimbula, on the NSW South Coast, and had now been advised by Victorian authorities the child had returned a positive test.
"Now, just to be very clear about the circumstances around this child, the child and his family were not from a hotspot in Melbourne," she said.
"At the time of leaving Melbourne, they also undertook testing before coming to New South Wales and were actually advised that the test result was negative.
"But... following their arrival in New South Wales, they were then advised that there had been an error and, in fact, the test result was a positive.
"All of the family contacts have been in isolation and they're now isolating in Merimbula."
Dr Chant said the only outside interaction the family had was a visit to the Tathra Hotel.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.