NSW on high alert over Victoria outbreak

Health authorities have confirmed a third COVID-19 case on the NSW-Victoria border town of Albury linked to two previous cases in the regional city.

NSW Health on Friday confirmed the case after flagging it didn’t make the deadline for confirmed case numbers on Thursday.

The case is connected to two family members who tested positive to COVID-19 in Albury earlier in the week.

NSW recorded 13 other COVID-19 cases on Friday – all of which are in hotel quarantine – from more than 18,500 tests.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is on Friday expected to consider charging Australians returning from overseas for their two-week hotel quarantine.

Earlier in the week, she flagged the matter would be raised at Friday’s national cabinet meeting. 

It comes as the premier has warned that the Victorian COVID-19 outbreak is a wake-up call and everyone should be “in a state of high alert”.

While there was no evidence of increased community transmission across the border yet, she said it would be up to a fortnight before the situation became clear, with health authorities aware the virus may be “bubbling away” under the surface.

“We need to make sure there hasn’t been any ‘seeding’ prior to that rate of community transmission becoming apparent in Melbourne,” she said.

The premier reiterated that all residents of NSW-Victoria border towns should stay put for the time being and those from elsewhere in the state should not approach the border.

More than 125,000 exemption permits were issued by Thursday for people living in NSW-Victoria border communities, allowing them to move between the two.

Meanwhile, Queensland’s borders will open from midday on Friday for the first time since closing on March 25 to stymie the spread of COVID-19.

Those planning to cross the Queensland border from NSW are being warned of queues up to 20 kilometres long, with NSW Police Superintendent Dave Roptell urging drivers to be patient.

Travellers will need identification and a border declaration stating they have not visited Victoria over the previous 14 days to enter Queensland.

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