Queensland and Victoria have decided to shut their borders to people from Greater Sydney and the Central Coast as a COVID-19 outbreak in the NSW capital grows.
The new rules will be in place from midnight Sunday in Victoria and 1am Monday in Queensland.
“If you’re in Greater Sydney, stay in Greater Sydney,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday morning.
Victorian residents who are in those areas will be allowed back but must get tested within 24 hours, self-quarantine at home for a fortnight and be checked up on by authorities.
They must first register for an exemption on the Service Victoria website and have until midnight Monday to re-enter. After that, anyone who enters the state, Victorian or not, will have to quarantine in a hotel.
Victorian officials, keen to keep community transmission of COVID-19 to zero after eliminating a devastating second wave of infections, decided to expand the parts of NSW considered “red zones”.
People who live in those zones or have recently set foot there will not be issued a border pass.
“The road border will be a hard border,” Mr Andrews said.
There will be police checkpoints where permits will be checked.
Residents of border communities in NSW and Victoria will have freedom of movement across the border, provided they can prove their address by showing their driver’s licence.
Queensland will also shut out people from Greater Sydney.
“If you are from Greater Sydney, now is not the time to travel to Queensland,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
People who have been to other parts of NSW since December 11 will need a border pass to enter Queensland.
Queenslanders in Greater Sydney are urged to return home before 1am on Tuesday, get a COVID-19 test and self isolate for 14 days.
The Greater Sydney zone will be considered to stretch as far south as Wollongong, as far north as the Central Coast, and west through the Blue Mountains.
The Northern Territory followed suit late on Sunday afternoon, declaring the Greater Sydney area a hotspot with immediate effect and forcing 14-day quarantine on anyone coming into the territory from there.
Those who have already arrived in the Northern Territory and who had been in Sydney since December 11 have to immediately go into self-isolation and get tested.
“I am truly sorry for this, but we have to do what we can to keep people safe,” Acting Chief Minister Nicole Manison said.
South Australia has also toughened its border stance, requiring 14 day quarantine for anyone arriving from Greater Sydney and barring anyone who has been to the city’s Northern Beaches area starting at midnight Sunday.
Testing will be mandatory for anyone coming from NSW.
The moves follow NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement the Northern Beaches cluster had grown by 28 cases to a total of 68.
There are also two other new cases among people who live in the area, but the source of their illness is still unknown.
Western Australia has reimposed a hard border to NSW, with few exemptions including certain senior government officials and freight and logistics workers.
“These are unusual times, these are extraordinary measures but they’re necessary,” WA Premier Mark McGowan told reporters.
“I just urge New South Wales to do everything they can to kill the virus.”
He urged the state to go as hard as South Australia did when the second wave struck there and said WA put all flight crew into a government-controlled hotel a few months ago – a move airlines objected to.
A van driver shuttling airline crew between Sydney Airport and their hotels was last week confirmed as NSW’s first community transmission since December 3.
Queensland chief health officer Jeanette Young announced that as of Tuesday morning, all international airline crew who did not have a base in the state would have to go into a government-run, police-managed hotel in Brisbane.
Tasmania declared Greater Sydney a medium-risk area on Saturday, while the Northern Beaches area remains high-risk.
Medium-risk means travellers from that place will have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Tasmania.
Only returning Tasmanians will be able to enter the state from the Northern Beaches.
They, as well as medium-risk travellers, will be made to quarantine at a “suitable residence”, Premier Peter Gutwein says.
Also on Sunday, Ms Palaszczuk was clearly irate that some hospitality venues across Queensland were not doing the right thing by ensuring patrons scanned a QR code or register their attendance in other ways.
A health alert has been issued for The Glen Hotel in Eight Miles Plains after a positive case went there but contact tracing has been thwarted by illegible handwriting.
“We are giving a clear message to our pubs and clubs and cafes right across Queensland that you will have 72 hours to get your house in order,” the premier said.
“That means you must have QR codes, you must have electronic devices in place otherwise you will be going back to the one per four square metres and people will not be able to stand up and enjoy their drinks.”
She also urged Christmas shoppers to keep up social distancing and hand sanitising.
The Australian Capital Territory has made no changes to its guidelines relating to the NSW outbreak since Saturday. New updates could come on Monday, the territory’s health department said.
The current advice is that those visiting Canberra, who have been to Sydney’s Northern Beaches since December 11, must self-quarantine for 14 days starting when they were last there.
A COVID-19 test is also required, although the result won’t affect the need to quarantine.