NSW border restrictions to tighten with Victoria

NSW border restrictions to tighten with Victoria

The NSW Government will make it even harder for people travelling from Victoria to enter the state as of midnight, while Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) urges the public to wear masks when social distancing isn't possible.

The state government has established a strict new border zone, tightened permit conditions and stronger enforcement powers.

With permits, NSW border residents will be restricted in their reasons for travelling into the Victorian side of the border zone, and if they venture further into the neighbouring state they will need to self-isolate for a fortnight upon their return.

Any other NSW resident who crosses the Murray River, or otherwise enters Victoria or has been there in the last 14 days, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days on their return to NSW.

"From midnight Tuesday 21 July, border zone residents with a permit will only be able to cross into the other side of the NSW-Victorian border zone to go to work or attend an education institution if they can't work or learn from home, or to obtain medical care, supplies or health services," NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.

"On top of that, we're strengthening the rules so the fewer people granted permits to enter NSW must now carry a copy of their permit and produce it when directed by enforcement officers."

NSW reported 20 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, all linked to known cases: eight to the Thai Rock restaurant cluster, four to the newly emerging Batemans Bay Soldiers Club cluster, three to the Crossroads Hotel, four from overseas and one from Victoria.

"There's currently 96 people being treated by New South Wales Health and two are in intensive care - one is requiring a ventilator," NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said.

"I'd also like to highlight that one of those cases in intensive care is actually a person in their 30s...often we tend to say this disease affects the elderly, and it does on average, but there still will be young people that are impacted."

Victoria has also reported 275 new cases in the past 24 hours, following a rollercoaster weekend after the state's record daily numbers of 428 on Friday. There are now 2,913 active cases in Victoria, and there have been 39 deaths to date.

NSW Premier Berejiklian urged people to follow the health advice and avoid crowded places. 

"We have an opportunity to isolate the cases that we have; to clamp down and to make sure we reduce the incidence of the virus spreading. We have that chance in New South Wales. Unfortunately other places don't have that opportunity," she said.

"As the advice has been provided in NSW, is if you cannot guarantee social distancing where you're going, if you cannot guarantee that people will around you respect that social distancing, you must consider wearing a mask."

For doctors and nurses on the frontline, sources close to Business News Australia have reported incidences of health departments in NSW not allowing staff to get their personal protective equipment (PPE) masks properly fitted - as is supposed to be the standard procedure - to protect against the virus.

Some who purchase their own PPE have also been told not to wear it at work, potentially putting health staff at further risk. 

Updated at 12:00pm AEST on 20 July 2020.

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