NSW-Victoria border could remain shut for weeks because the Berejiklian Government doesn’t think Dan Andrews could handle a third wave of COVID-19
- NSW premier idled on the prospect of free travel over state lines from Victoria
- Anonymous ministers suggested Victoria has problems with contact tracing
- Victoria recorded no cases for first time since 9 June and no deaths on Monday
- From Tuesday night pubs and shops will re-open and residents can leave home
The NSW-Victoria border could remain closed for weeks because Gladys Berejiklian is nervous about Daniel Andrews’ ability to manage a third wave of coronavirus.
While the Berejiklian Government pushes for borders with Queensland to reopen, the premier has idled on the prospect of free travel over state lines from Victoria.
The delay casts doubt over whether Victoria was able to properly implement contact tracing if there was a spike in cases following a catastrophic second wave after the virus escaped from two quarantine hotels in July and infected thousands.
NSW premier idled on the prospect of free travel over state lines from Victoria. Pictured: two women in Melbourne on October 26, hours before restrictions were eased
Mr Andrews (pictured) said he would speak with Ms Berejiklian about the borders, bur added regional Victorians may be able to leave the state before Melburnians
Despite no new positive cases in Victoria on Monday, three NSW ministers told The Australian they would make a decision based on how Victoria handled any new infections after restrictions were lifted in Melbourne at midnight on Tuesday.
The anonymous ministers said comments made by former Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos about Mr Andrews’ inability to make decisions was evidence of the issues with contact tracing.
Ms Mikakos, who was a fierce supporter of the Andrews Government before she was blamed for the state’s second wave, made the comments on Sunday in response to the premier’s refusal to lift restrictions amid falling cases.
‘[Victoria] has met the under five threshold which some thought was unachievable. This was a very cautious target,’ she tweeted.
‘6/7 of new cases are related to a known outbreak so the risk is manageable. The set reopening is gradual and safe so any delay is unnecessary. It’s paralysis in decision-making.’
Former Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos took aim at Premier Daniel Andrews for prolonging Melbourne’s lockdown
Ms Mikakoks slammed Mr Andrews on Twitter as he was grilled over his backflip in a press conference
Last week, Ms Berejiklian said Victoria had to ‘demonstrate they’re not going to have uncontrolled outbreaks while they’re easing restrictions’ before citizens would be allowed to cross state lines.
Mr Andrews said he would speak with Ms Berejiklian about the borders, but added regional Victorians may be able to leave the state before Melburnians.
‘The one thing we could do, and we have, is get our numbers down and that gives others the comfort that they need to be able to open up,’ Mr Andrews said.
A government spokesman told the publication: ‘Restrictions continue to be reviewed on a regular basis and the border will not be closed for a day longer than it needs to be.’
Victoria suffered a devastating second wave of Covid-19 which peaked on August 5 with 725 new cases.
Victoria suffered a devastating second wave of Covid-19 which peaked on August 5 with 725 new cases. Pictured: People in Melbourne on October 26
Strict lockdowns were enforced in July, banning Melbourne residents from leaving their homes for any reason except medical emergencies and to buy food.
The move to effectively close retailers cost the state 1,200 jobs per day and cost taxpayers $200million per day in federal economic support provided to help newly unemployed Victorians.
The Andrews Government was harshly criticised by angry Australians and politicians for failing to lift the restrictions despite a drastic fall in case numbers throughout October.
But as of midnight on Tuesday, Melburnians will be able to visit pubs, shops and restaurants, as long as there is a maximum of 20 people indoors and 50 outside.
Restrictions will continue to lift in two weeks’ time if the virus does not reemerge.
Victoria’s death toll stands at 817 and the nation’s is at 905.
Victoria free at last: What are the changes?
From Tuesday 27 October, 11.59pm
All retail, bars and restaurants open with 20 indoors and 50 outdoors
Beauty services and tattoo parlours open
Outdoor contact sport for under 18s back on and non-contact sport for adults
Four reasons to leave home removed
25km travel limit remains in place
Melbourne to regional VIC border remains
Outdoor gatherings up to 10 people
Gatherings can be of more than two households
Weddings increase to 10 attendees, funerals to 20
Church services open with 10 indoors and 20 outdoors
PT, fitness and dance classes can be held outdoors with up to 10 people
Number of people at outdoor pools can increase to 50, subject to density limits
Must work from home if you can
From 8 November
25km travel limit scrapped
Travel to regional VIC allowed
Retail, pubs and restaurants allowed 40 people indoors, 70 outdoors
Funerals allowed indoors with 20 and outdoors with 50
Non-contact sport for U18s allowed indoors
Gyms and indoor fitness will be able to reopen
Holiday accommodation to re-open
Religious gatherings will expand with up 20 people and a faith leader indoors, and 50 outside