Every Australian state and territory has moved to effectively close their borders to Victoria as the region prepares to enter a five-day snap lockdown.
It comes as Premier Daniel Andrews said the “hyper-infectious” British strain of COVID is spreading faster than contact tracers can keep up with.
The spread follows a potential link from a Melbourne Holiday Inn serving as a hotel quarantine facility.
The restrictions in full are:
- NSW is advising anyone in Victoria not to travel to its state. Those who have already crossed must follow the same restrictions as if they hadn’t left;
- Tasmania has declared Victoria a high-risk area. All travellers from Victoria must therefore self-isolate for 14 days;
- SA will shut its border at 12:01am on Saturday. Those who have already crossed are now subject to quarantine;
- Victorians are banned from entering the ACT from 12:00am on Saturday. ACT residents making the move must inform the ACT of their plans and self-isolate on arrival;
- WA has reimposed its hard border for 72 hours, before the state is deemed a medium risk zone, meaning only exempt travellers can enter;
- Queensland has said anyone who has been in the Greater Melbourne area in the last 14 days would not be allowed into the state, as of 1am on Saturday;
- The NT has declared all of Greater Melbourne a hotspot, meaning all arrivals will have to spend 14 days in government quarantine.
Announcing the lockdown, Premier Andrews said the new strain is moving quickly.
“We are having cases test positive – and in rapid time we get notified of that positive test result – by the time we find that case as positive, they’ve already infected their close contacts,” he said.
The news comes just days after Premier Andrews said his state wouldn’t take as many returned travellers as NSW because his quarantine system has “higher standards”.
“This is not about boasting, it’s just a fact,” he said on Monday.
Victoria is due to increase its arrival limit from 1,120 to 1,310 next week in response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison ending a temporary reduction of numbers nationwide. However, these figures are substantially lower than NSW, which will return its cap to 3,010.
“We will have less capacity because we have a different model and I lead higher standards,” said Premier Andrews. “I can say it because it’s true. And whether that’s convenient for people or not, is not really my concern. There’s not 3,500 private security working in our system. Do I need to go any further than that?”