Victorian Police patrolling the border with New South Wales are telling travellers that the initial warning period is now over for those trying to sneak over the border.
Since Saturday, around 260 officers have been placed along the border equipped with automatic number plate recognition technology to check vehicles.
Since the start of border restrictions, officers have turned away 53 people with a simple warning. Many were from red zones, which are areas assessed as high risk for COVID-19 transmission during a specific period.
All visitors looking to get into Victoria are currently required to obtain a permit.
However, Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said people had had enough time to learn of current restrictions rules and will start facing thousands of dollars in on-the-spot fines if without a valid permit.
“If there’s a need to escalate, we will escalate,” Patton told reporters on Monday. “That discretion, that window period, is very rapidly closing. From here on in, you’re going to see much stricter enforcement.”
Patton also revealed that the state government had requested assistance from the Australian Defence Force to provide logistical support to free up frontline police.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley told reporters on Monday; the state has processed over 5,000 red zone permits and 21,000 orange zone permits since June 23, with 1,152 and 5,007 permits of each type issued, respectively, thus far.
“Nothing describes the seriousness that the nation is facing more than those extents of border restrictions and permit applications that Victoria has in place.
“We sympathise extremely much with Victorians who want to stay connected to family interstate, but we cannot take this invisible threat lightly, and we cannot take chances with the delta variant, in particular, spreading across our state,” Foley said.
Sydney’s latest outbreak is believed to be from a driver who was transporting an international flight crew.
Of the 139 passengers and crew who shared a flight from Sydney to Melbourne with the man, 85 percent have returned with a negative result.
All but 2 of the 67 people identified as close contacts from the man’s workplace have also returned with a negative test so far.
Meanwhile, Victorian authorities have tracked down seven workers linked to an outbreak in a Northern Territory mine.
COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said three of the seven workers had returned with negative tests, with the other four due to be tested on Monday.
AAP contributed to this article.