Victoria’s Covid Commander Jeroen Weimar has hinted at a hard border with all of NSW as he delivered a blunt message for any of the state’s residents still in the virus-riddled state.
Mr Weimer said the “question burning in our minds at the moment” was whether the state government needed to extend the hard border that currently exists with Sydney to the whole state.
“If you’re a Victorian in NSW, you need to come home now,” Mr Weimar said at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.
“In the coming days there is significant likelihood we have to close the border in coming days.
“There‘s no other warning point. We will make it red.”
It comes as NSW recorded 50 new local Covid cases on Saturday, with 26 active in the community while infectious.
A red zone would mean no-one can enter Victoria from that area except residents. However, they will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
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Under Victorian law, anyone entering the state must apply for a travel permit even if they are coming from a green zone.
At the moment, Greater Sydney, including Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Shellharbour and Wollongong, are red zones.
The rest of the NSW is an orange zone.
Anyone coming from an orange zone must obtain an orange zone permit, isolate on arrival, get tested within 72 hours, and stay isolated until they get a negative result.
However, Mr Weimer has strongly hinted that the orange zone won’t remain for much longer.
Victorian Police may already be preparing for the shift in borders, with a major change to their border checkpoints.
A Victoria Police spokesman said that they had relocated a traffic management point previously located on Anzac Ave in Wodonga to the Hume Highway as part of Operation Sentinel.
“The new site on the Hume Highway is in the process of being established ahead of the end of the school holidays, with police checking permits of returning travellers from New South Wales to ensure no one is entering from a designated red zone,” the spokesperson added.
“Operation Sentinel response to the coronavirus outbreak in New South Wales is deliberately agile and flexible, ensuring an element of surprise for those looking to flout the rules.
“There are over 300 police officers dedicated to roving border patrols, traffic management points, spot checks, vehicle intercepts, transportation hub, and Airwing patrols to identify vehicles who may have travelled from NSW, including those who may have been in a red zone.”