Queensland and WA moved to harden their borders to Victoria on Thursday after the state recorded another 165 cases of coronavirus.
From now on, only transport and freight workers from Victoria will be permitted to enter Western Australia, while Queensland will remove the option for residents to enter but self-isolate.
The announcements came on the day Melbourne endured its first day of re-imposed lockdown following an apparent ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 cases.
Western Australia Health Minister Roger Cook said only transport and freight workers will enter alongside those granted special permission by the police. Significantly, fly-in, fly-out workers are now banned.
“No one will be allowed if they have been in Victoria for the last 14 days unless they fall into the new, even tighter list of exemptions,” Minister Cook said.
“This will mean the number of exemptions will be reduced significantly.”
The move came hours after a similar move by Queensland, which has now effectively totally banned anyone from Victoria from entering despite still planning to open up to other states on Friday.
In other developments, thousands of Kiwis in Australia planning to return home were left stranded after Air New Zealand stopped accepting bookings until the end of July.
The move, reported earlier by Australian Aviation, is due to the country working hard to manage the flow of people into its hotel quarantine system. It follows news that breaches in Melbourne may be responsible for the state’s recent problems.
“We have people showing up at airports, and by the time they close the doors that’s when we’ll get a heads up that we have an extra 100 people coming than we had planned for,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that about 5,500 people were booked onto Air New Zealand flights to return to the airline’s home, from destinations such as Australia and the US.
The announcements came under the backdrop of Melbourne enduring its first day in weeks of lockdown.
However, in better news, eight of the towers identified at coronavirus hotspots will revert to the same restrictions as the rest of the city, after previously being in what was termed a ‘hard lockdown’ where they couldn’t leave.