Regional NSW in new 'orange' zone, allowed back into Victoria

COVID traffic light system for Vic border crossings

Coronavirus
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

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Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a new traffic light system for crossing the border

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People from regional NSW will be able to freely cross the border and return to Victoria from 6pm Monday, but there is no date yet for the border to be reopened completely.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has announced what he called "a new commonsense traffic light system" to determine who in NSW can get a permit to enter Victoria.

But a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson confirmed to The Border Mail that the existing "border bubble" would remain and residents would not have to get a new permit.

This includes those who live in the NSW council areas of Albury, Federation, Greater Hume, and Snowy Valleys and Victorian council areas of Moira, Wangaratta, Indigo, Benalla, Wodonga and Towong.

"Victorian border communities in NSW will continue to have exceptions and will be able to use local residence identification to cross the border," the spokesperson said.

Speaking on Monday afternoon, Mr Andrews said all of regional NSW would be placed in the "orange" category, allowing residents to cross the border, but Sydney would remain classed as "red" and not allowed.

DIVIDED: All of regional NSW has been placed in Victoria's "orange zone".

DIVIDED: All of regional NSW has been placed in Victoria's "orange zone".

"We know this is a deeply inconvenient challenging time for you," Mr Andrews said.

"It's very important we follow that public health advice."

Permits will be available from the Service Victoria website.

Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton said it would be "just a matter of minutes to be able to get that permit", but asked people to have patience with the system as many would be trying to get permits at the start.

Those who have only travelled within the established "border bubble" do not have to get a coronavirus test when they cross the border.

Anyone else arriving in Victoria from an orange zone will need to take a coronavirus test within 72 hours of crossing the border, isolating both before and after the test until they receive a negative result.

The changes will allow Victorian residents who have been stranded in places like Albury since the new year to go back home.

Professor Sutton said the decision to create a traffic light system was made because there are no active coronavirus cases in regional NSW.

"We're all in need of seeing family, friends, loved ones and there are important occasions people need to get to," he said.

"We're all working to a system whereby we have to protect the health and wellbeing of Victorians and do what's appropriate to manage that risk.

"Sometimes it's an inconvenience, sometimes it's absolutely tragic - that' a risk that we're all having to manage in our lives."

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There will be a fine of $4957 for crossing the border without a valid permit.

"The border will still be patrolled - Victoria Police are doing a very good job," Mr Andrews said.

He did not say when the border would be reopened completely, but flagged changes for Sydney and Brisbane later in the week.

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