UPDATE: Ten reasons to cross the Murray River as a border bubble resident are now permitted, expanding the changes announced on Monday.
The Victorian government's coronavirus website lists the following reasons a Victorian or NSW border resident can enter or return to Victoria without a permit:
- Necessary goods and services, including medical care and getting a COVID-19 test
- Care and compassionate reasons
- Paid or voluntary work (including for charitable and religious purposes)
- Education (including childcare and early childhood services)
- Getting a COVID-19 vaccination
- Sport and exercise at a sporting club or at a sport or physical recreation facility (excluding alpine resorts)
- Visiting an intimate partner
- Moving house, inspecting a property or attending an auction
- Driving someone who cannot drive themselves for one of the above reasons
- Travelling between places in Victoria where it is easier to travel through NSW
Visiting an intimate partner, moving house, inspecting a property or attending an auction, driving someone who cannot drive themselves for one of the above reasons and travelling between places in Victoria where it is easier to travel through NSW had not been included in the original announcement.
Other conditions of travel are:
- you are travelling for one of the permitted reasons
- you have not been in an extreme risk zone or red zone outside of the cross-border area at any time since it came into effect over the last 14 days
- if you have been in an orange zone outside of the cross-border area at any time since it came into effect over the last 14 days, you have been tested for COVID-19 and received a negative result since leaving the orange zone
- you have not been to an exposure site
- you don't have COVID-19 or have any symptoms, and you are not a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case
- you carry proof of address (such as a driver licence)
EARLIER: No end date has been set on the tighter border bubble rules that came into effect this week.
Victoria's COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar confirmed on Wednesday morning the restrictions would be ongoing at this stage.
"We've not set an exit time limit up to this point, it's something completely associated with the progression of the pandemic," he said.
The NSW coronavirus cluster led the Victorian government to change the border bubble rules from midnight Tuesday.
Border businesses once again scrambled to make arrangements ahead of new travel restrictions coming into place.
"We think it's an appropriate measure to have in place at this time and we'll continue to review those options very carefully as we see what happens on the other side of the Murray," Mr Weimar said.
He declined to comment on support for affected businesses, saying that was a matter for the government.
Mr Weimar said Victorian authorities continued to manage the risk along the border with NSW.
"The simple, easiest thing to do would be to just slam the border shut and pretend nothing exists beyond the Murray, that's not something we can, should or want to do," he said.
The state's strategies included the red zone and exemption system, the new border bubble rules, wastewater monitoring and encouraging testing for anyone with symptoms.
Victoria has 7985 active red zone permits, that is Victorians who had returned from red zones, primarily Canberra and south east Queensland.
"As we've seen to our cost in the last couple of months now, the risk of interstate incursion is very great," Mr Weimar said.
"The present exemptions are really only for a very small category of people.
"Exemptions are for those genuine, urgent and compassionate reasons that people have.
"Exemptions are only given for those rare reasons, they are exemptions, they are not a right of return."
Mr Weimar said nine COVID-19 patients were in hospital, with two in intensive care and on ventilators.
Ninety-nine coronavirus cases remain active in Victoria and there are 33 exposure sites.
"Again, my thanks to those 40,000 people for having done the hard yards over the last few weeks and isolating and ensuring that the virus stops with them and of course the just under 3000 that are still continuing their isolation over the coming days," he said.
MORE COVID NEWS:
EARLIER: The quick spreading Delta has seen Prime Minister Scott Morrison changing tune from lauding NSW's insistence on staying open and managing COVID-19 with testing and tracing to saying hard and fast lockdowns were the order of the day.
"It is indeed true that for a very long period of time in NSW, they were able to manage cases as they arose by not having to go into lengthy and extraordinary lockdowns," Mr Morrison said in Question Time.
"But the virus writes the rules."
IN OTHER NEWS:
With Greater Sydney and surrounds approaching six weeks of lockdown and daily infections remaining stubbornly high, the NSW government is now looking to vaccination as a way out of the outbreak.
And the debate around incentives to get vaccinated continues on.
Morrison and state and territory leaders have set a vaccination rate target of 80 per cent before harsh restrictions will be a thing of the past.
But scientists and political leaders are at odds as to how this can be achieved.
- additional reporting KIM CHAPPELL
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