'New phenomena': Gladys Berejiklian explains border closure U-turn

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has defended her dramatic U-turn on border closures, insisting “new phenomena” has forced her hand.

NSW will close itself off from Victoria from 11.59pm on Tuesday as Victoria’s coronavirus cases continue to rise.

On Monday, Victoria recorded 127 new cases over the last 24 hours – its highest coronavirus daily total since the pandemic began.

The latest move, which was welcomed by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Prime Minister Scott Morrison, comes just weeks after Ms Berejiklian slammed border closures within Australia as “crazy”.

Gladys Berejiklian announced the NSW border will be closed to Victoria.
Gladys Berejiklian announces the border closure on Monday. Source: Sky News

She has routinely criticised states for closing their borders, and was involved in an ugly back-and-forth with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in May over her decision to keep the Sunshine State’s borders closed.

When questioned on her sudden backflip on Monday, Ms Berejiklian told reporters a significant shift in where cases were acquired had prompted the change in her government’s stance.

“What is happening now in Victoria is very different. The overwhelming majority, I think in fact all of the cases that the Premier Andrews announced today, are from community transmission,” she said.

“This is unprecedented in Australia. We have not seen anything like this.

“The Victorian situation is so different. It is actually a new phenomena in Australia and that is why, in consultation with the Prime Minister and Premier Andrews, NSW has taken this decision.”

Ms Berejiklian said previously the majority of cases were returned travellers, meaning the spread of the virus was less likely.

“When we made those statements, or I made those statements, the vast majority of cases that New South Wales and other States were experiencing were from overseas travellers or direct contacts,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The premier said there was "no excuse" for all the other states to have border closures and urged them to open up to NSW given the state was taking strong action to ensure that Victorians could not travel into NSW.

"We wouldn't take this step unless we absolutely had to," Ms Berejiklian said.

"It's a mammoth task."

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