NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has suggested it’s not “proportionate” for states and territories to close their borders to NSW despite the COVID cluster in the Northern Beaches.
Talking to the press on Monday morning, Premier Berejiklian said, “What I’m saying to my colleagues around the country is please think about the heartbreak and please think about the facts when you’re making these decisions.”
It came as NSW recorded 15 new cases from the Avalon COVID infection – 50 per cent less than the day prior.
Currently, Sydney is now locked out of every state and territory after the ACT and NT closed their borders on Sunday evening.
Gladys used the press conference to point out that NSW has been accommodating the vast bulk of returning Australians from overseas.
“We are doing our bit in terms of bringing home your travellers with 45 per cent of people coming through from other states.
“Yes, of course, I’m concerned by what’s happening in New South Wales. But every response has to be proportionate to the risk.
“It impacts not just people in New South Wales, but people in your home states that may not have been reunited with family or friends or significant others for a long period of time.
“It is a very emotional time of the year.”
She also pointed out that NSW only closed its border to Victoria when they were recording 140 COVID cases a day.
The lower case numbers in the state on Monday brought hope that the cluster could be brought under control quickly, and would not lead to a Melbourne-style second wave, a point emphasised later by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“It may well be that what we’re seeing in the Avalon outbreak comes and goes the same way that the Adelaide outbreak went and it all comes and goes in that sort of period of time.
“Things can then restore to where they were prior to that. We’re not at that point yet to be able to make those judgments, so hopefully in the next few days, next week, that will become clearer.”
Meanwhile, Queensland’s Health Minister Yvette D’Ath confirmed the earliest her state could reopen to Greater Sydney would be 8 January, depending on the amount of ‘community transmission’ cases linked to the cluster.
The closure of borders to Sydney has been an enormous blow for domestic aviation and comes just a week after almost all movement restrictions were lifted across the country.
Late last month, Australian Aviation reported how Virgin Australia recorded its largest day of sales since COVID, shortly after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her state would open to Sydney.
The business added that more than 60 per cent of flights booked were for travel in the lead up to and during Christmas, with searches for routes between NSW and Queensland doubling.