'Red zone': Sydneysiders shut out of Victoria amid Covid cluster

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter
·4-min read

Victoria will close its borders to Greater Sydney and the NSW Central Coast just before Christmas amid a growing coronavirus cluster on the Northern Beaches.

Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Sunday, Greater Sydney and the Central Coast would be a “red zone” from Sunday at 11.59pm (AEDT).

People wearing masks in front of Flinders St Station, which is quiet and empty during the coronavirus pandemic.
Victoria has declared Greater Sydney as a 'red zone' just before Christmas. Source: Getty Images

“Beyond that the Northern Beaches will become a hot zone and what that means is that nobody who is from those parts of Sydney, Greater Sydney or has visited that part of Greater Sydney will be allowed to travel back to Melbourne or any part of Victoria,” he said.

“If you do arrive back or travel here you will face 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine.”

The rest of NSW remains a green zone meaning no quarantine is required at this stage, the premier said.

Mr Andrews added there are “significant exposure sites” in Sydney. NSW Health updated its Covid-19 watch-list on Saturday to include a number of venues including places in Sydney’s CBD.

NSW reported 30 new cases on Sunday with 28 of those linked to Avalon cluster on the Northern Beaches. The other two are people who live in the Northern Beaches but are under investigation.

The premier issued a stern warning for anyone considering travel between NSW and Victoria.

“If you are from Greater Sydney, stay in Greater Sydney,” Mr Andrews said.

“Do not travel to Melbourne because all you will end up doing is mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days.”

The Anytime Fitness gym is seen in Avalon on Sydney's Northern Beaches.
The Anytime Fitness at Avalon is among a growing list of Covid-19 venues in Sydney. Source: AAP

Advice for Victorians in NSW

Victorian residents currently in NSW will have an extra 24 hours to return home or face going into hotel quarantine.

“You can still quarantine but you can do that at home and you will be monitored and checked,” Mr Andrews said.

“These are not easy decisions to make and no-one is pleased to have to do this.

“But we have built something precious and like all things precious it is fragile and I intend to safeguard it.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a press conference at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has told anyone in Greater Sydney not to come to Victoria. Source: AAP (file pic)

Chief Health Officer’s concern

Victorian Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton said he’s concerned NSW contact tracers haven’t determined how the virus got back into the state.

“It does matter in the sense that if you can't find that link, the chain of transmission to every single person back to the original international travel in quarantine, then there are individuals who have been out there who have potentially been infectious, clearly infectious to have started this cluster in the first place who might have infected other people who are yet to be found,” Dr Sutton said.

His NSW counterpart Dr Kerry Chant said on Sunday the sequence from the strain showed it most likely came from an overseas traveller who arrived on December 1.

“At the moment we are forensically looking at all of the journeys of that individual to see if there were any points associated with it,” she said.

South Australia closes its borders to Sydney

Anyone from Greater Sydney will have to go into a fortnight of quarantine from Sunday 11.59pm, South Australian Premier Steven Marshall announced on Sunday.

“Anybody who has been on the Northern Beaches will not be able to come in,” the premier said.

“We have a hard border arrangement now with anybody who has been on the Northern Beaches.

“Anybody who has been in regional New South Wales will be required to have that [Covid] testing, but they will not be required to isolate at this point.”

The premier acknowledged “this is going to significantly affect Christmas travel plans”.

“So we don't take these decisions lightly,” Mr Marshall said.

“But in this instance we believe that this is the best way we can protect South Australia from any seeding into our states, especially as we lead up to Christmas.”

More to come.

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