Victoria Declares Greater Sydney COVID-19 Red Zone

By AAP
December 20, 2020 Updated: December 20, 2020

Victoria has shut its borders to people travelling from greater Sydney and the New South Wales Central Coast, declaring the area a red zone for coronavirus.

From midnight on Sunday, most people travelling from those areas will not be able to enter Victoria. If they do enter, they will have to do 14 days of hotel quarantine.

The one exception is returning Victorians, who have until midnight on Monday to return. Those Victorians who return before then can do their quarantine at home.

The order applies to anyone who has visited those areas since Dec. 11.

These restrictions will not be lifted on Wednesday evening, unlike many of the restrictions announced in NSW, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday.

“People who have spent time in greater Sydney, do not try to come to Melbourne because you will spend your stay in a hotel room,” he said.

“We have built something precious and we intend to safeguard it.”

Victoria had previously declared Sydney’s northern beaches a red zone, but said the expansion was necessary as it is likely that there could be many more cases in Sydney outside the northern beaches.

The northern beaches has been elevated to a “hot zone,” which means even Victorians there must adhere to the NSW-ordered lockdown and will not be permitted into their home state.

There will be a hard border on the roads, patrolled by 700 members of Victoria Police, Andrews said.

Epoch Times Photo
Police in the southern New South Wales (NSW) border city of Albury check cars crossing the state border from Victoria on July 8, 2020. (William West/AFP via Getty Images)

Residents of border towns on either side of the border will have freedom of movement.

People from elsewhere in NSW are also able to travel freely to Victoria.

Australians entering mandatory hotel quarantine in Victoria from another state will not be charged for their stay at this stage, Andrews said.

The NSW government announced 30 new locally-transmitted cases on Sunday, bringing the northern beaches outbreak to 70.

Victoria reached its 51st day without community transmission on Saturday.

Victorian contact tracers have been racing to protect the state’s hard-won gains against any spread from recent Sydney travellers.

Health officials have identified 70 primary close contacts of positive cases and they are now in quarantine.

The government said on Saturday evening it had sent more than 27,000 text messages to people who had flown into Victoria from NSW between Dec. 11 and Dec. 17.

Flight manifests have identified 321 people from the northern beaches area, and contact tracers have called 305 of those.

Testing sites have been set up at terminals one and four at Tullamarine airport. Masks are also mandatory in airports.