NSW to tighten Vic border, Batemans fears

NSW is set to enforce tougher coronavirus border restrictions for people wanting to enter the state from Victoria.

From midnight on Tuesday, a border zone will be set up along the Murray River, with criteria for cross-border travel to be tightened.

All current travel permits will be cancelled and residents in the border zone who wish to move between the states will have to reapply.

Travel will only be allowed for work, education or for medical care, supplies or health services.

“The growing rates of community transmission in Victoria have us on high alert,” NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said in a statement.

He said the new protocols will make it harder to obtain a permit and make it easier for the government to cancel them. 

If NSW residents travel beyond the border zone into Victoria, they will be forced to self-isolate for two weeks when they return. 

From Monday afternoon, border residents will be able to check online to see if their address falls within the new restrictions. 

Among the changed permit requirements, staff or students of boarding schools or universities must self-isolate for two weeks and obtain a negative swab before attending school.

Seasonal workers from Victoria are also banned from entering NSW.

NSW recorded 18 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, while Victoria recorded three deaths and 363 new cases on Sunday. 

The tougher moves come as NSW students return to school from Monday. 

Transport and Roads Minister Andrew Constance said 3300 extra services added to the state’s public transport network in June would continue as about 200,000 NSW students return to the classroom. 

Meanwhile, Sutherland Local Court has been closed for cleaning after a person who attended last Wednesday tested positive for COVID.19.

The Department of Communities and Justice in a statement on Monday said the case was still under investigation with further testing underway, but they were closing and forensically cleaning the court as a precaution.

Batemans Bay Soldiers Club on the NSW South Coast has been forced to close its doors for two weeks after eight people who attended the venue tested positive, including a staff member.

Anyone who attended the club on July 13, 15, 16 or 17 has been advised to immediately self-isolate for 14 days.

“The concern in Batemans Bay is the ageing population down there and the transient nature over the school holidays of the population,” NSW Police Minister David Elliott told the Seven Network on Monday.

“Make sure you don’t put yourself in a position or situation where you can pass (the virus) on.”

Mr Elliott also labelled a 60-strong house party in northwest Sydney’s Schofields on Saturday night “stupidity at the highest level”.

He said he hoped all 60 people would be hit with $1000 fines for breaching health orders, as police intend.

Of that 60, 30 will also be punished for refusing move-on directions from police.

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