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NSW may open to Victoria in a month

written by Adam Thorn | October 20, 2020
Qantas Airways Airbus A330-202 VH-EBL on finals for Runway 16Right Sydney
Qantas Airways Airbus A330-202 VH-EBL on finals for Runway 16Right Sydney, 2019 (Lee Gatland)

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has hinted her state’s border to Victoria could reopen in a month if case numbers remain low.

It came as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he would speak to his NSW counterpart about reopening regional Victoria as early as this week.

“I would suspect it will be at least a fortnight after restrictions have been eased substantially to be able to assess how safe it is for us to open that border,” said Premier Berejiklian, seemingly referring to the Victoria’s 2 November date for reopening shops.

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“We are very keen to see what happens in Victoria once further restrictions are eased because that’s the real test.

“And if Victoria demonstrates that they’ve … upped their contact tracing capacity, that they’re able to demonstrate they’re not going to have uncontrolled outbreaks while they’re easing restrictions, well that will give us the confidence to open the borders.”

She also hinted that the previous weekend’s easing of restrictions to include a 25-kilometre ‘movement bubble’ would allow NSW to tell whether the state was “on top” of its contact tracing.

Meanwhile, Premier Andrews has said he would speak to both NSW and SA about reopening regional Victoria, which has seen substantially fewer COVID-19 cases than the capital Melbourne.

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The Victoria-NSW border closed for the first time at midnight on 7 July after cases in Melbourne first started to rise exponentially. The border remained open during the ‘first wave’ of COVID, back in late March.

Premier Andrews insisted then the decision was taken jointly after a call between himself, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Berejiklian.

The news came after Melbourne cancelled international flights into the city the week prior.

The border closure is enforced on the NSW side, in order to better allocate resources in Victoria, said Premier Andrews.

The news comes a day after Tasmania revealed it will open its borders to NSW on 2 November, provided its COVID-19 case numbers remain low.

Premier Peter Gutwein also confirmed the state will drop restrictions to those travelling from South Australia, ACT and Queensland on 26 October.

Tasmania currently requires all residents crossing the border to home quarantine for 14 days, and non-residents to undertake the same in a government facility.

Before the recently announced October deadline, the state was due to open to others only in early December.

Speaking on Monday, Premier Gutwein emphasised the opening to NSW is still conditional and his team are “monitoring” numbers.

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