New South Wales closes the border to residents from 36 hotspot Melbourne suburbs as second wave of coronavirus ravages Victoria – and if they enter they could be JAILED
New South Wales will ban people entering the state from 36 Melbourne suburbs which have been locked down due to a COVID outbreak.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said anyone from those areas caught in NSW could face six months in jail and an $11,000 fine from 11.59pm tonight.
Around 300,000 Melbourne residents from 10 postcodes have been ordered back into lockdown from Thursday as Victoria battles a second wave of the deadly disease.
New South Wales residents are allowed to return home from those hotspots but must isolate at home for 14 days.
Mr Hazzard said he was ‘still working through’ how police will enforced the rule – but said one option would be to quiz drivers with Victorian licence plates on where they have been.
Military personnel are seen conducting testing at the new mobile testing site in Melbourne
Queensland announced a similar policy on Tuesday and went further by requiring residents returning from those hotspots to pay for two-week hotel quarantine before being allowed home.
‘Victorians living in virus hotspots have to take the Victorian and NSW health orders seriously and should be very aware that NSW will impose penalties if they seek to leave hotspot suburbs to enter NSW,’ Mr Hazzard said today.
There will be exemptions such as to obtain urgent medical care or for compassionate reasons.
Meanwhile, restrictions on entertainment venues, weddings, community sport and other gatherings will be eased in NSW from today but strict physical distancing measures remain in place.
Mr Hazzard said businesses should ensure they have a COVID Safety Plan outlining exactly how they will maintain a safe environment for their staff and customers.
‘Until we have a vaccine, everyone has a role to play keeping the community safe, whether that is mum and dad at their kid’s soccer match or your local café operator,’ Mr Hazzard said.
‘The NSW Government has always said with the easing of restrictions comes risk, so I urge everyone to maintain physical distancing, get tested if you feel unwell and stay home if sick.’
COVID rules are eased in NSW
The following COVID-19 restrictions have been eased from today, July 1:
· The number of people allowed inside indoor venues will be determined by the ‘one person per 4 square metre’ rule, with no upper limit. This includes function centres.
· Kids’ and adult community sport can recommence.
· Cultural and sporting events at large stadiums, racecourses and motor racing tracks will be allowed up to 25 per cent of their normal seated capacity to a maximum of 10,000. These events must be ticketed and seated and follow strict guidelines.
· Alcohol can still be served to seated patrons only, including at conference and function venues.
· Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can reopen subject to the one person per 4 square metre rule.
The rules on gathering remain the same: 20 guests inside the home and 20 for gatherings in a public place.
The Victorian government has re-imposed stay-at-home orders for 36 suburbs in ten postcodes after recording 139 new cases of the deadly virus in the past two days.
After just four weeks of freedom, those residents will be banned from leaving their homes except for work and school, food shopping, giving care and daily exercise.
Restaurants, gyms, pubs and all other non-essential services in the suburbs must once again close their doors. Affected businesses will be compensated with a government cash grant of $5,000.
Residents from the ten postcodes will not be allowed to go on holiday and the government will announce a support package for affected tourism businesses tomorrow.
The lockdown will last for four weeks and come into force from 11.59pm on Wednesday. Police will be enforcing the orders with random vehicle checks similar to random breath tests and will dish out on-the-spot fines.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the lockdown was ‘deeply painful’ and ‘damaging for businesses’ but insisted that it was necessary.
‘If we don’t take these steps now we will be locking down every postcode,’ he said.
The curve in Victoria has skyrocketed over the past couple of weeks as coronavirus infections continue to grow from within the suburbs of Melbourne
Which 36 suburbs are being locked down again?
3012 – Brooklyn, Kingsville, Maidstone, Tottenham, West Footscray
3021 – Albanvale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans
3032 – Ascot Vale, Highpoint City, Maribyrnong, Travancore
3038 – Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens
3042 – Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie
3046 – Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park
3047 – Broadmeadows, Dallas, Jacana
3055 – Brunswick South, Brunswick West, Moonee Vale, Moreland West
3060 – Fawkner
3064 – Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickelham, Roxburgh Park, Kalkallo
In a new testing blitz across the hotspot suburbs, officials will be knocking on doors and offering people on-the-spot swabs.
‘Please, on behalf of every Victorian family, if you, or a family member, get a knock on the door and the offer of a test, please say yes,’ Mr Andrews said.
During a testing blitz over the weekend, 928 people refused to get tested in Broadmeadows and Keilor Downs alone.
Mr Andrews has also asked the Prime Minister to divert all international flights away from Melbourne for two weeks so the city does not have to quarantine returned travellers.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton confirmed Victoria was suffering a second wave after recording zero cases on 5 June.
‘The virus seems to have been snuffed out in early June. There is no evidence of any original virus from February, March, around currently,’ he said.
Victoria recorded 64 new cases of the virus on Tuesday. The number, down from the 75 reported on Monday, is the state’s sixth-worst figure since the pandemic began.
Guests at the Stamford Hotel in Melbourne are seen wearing masks as they get into taxis on June 25