Victoria reports no further coronavirus cases after its shock Thai restaurant cluster swelled to 8 – but anxious Melburnians are told to expect numbers to grow as drivers queue for hours to get across the NSW border
Victoria is breathing a sigh of relief after health bosses revealed no new coronavirus cases were reported in the state on Friday.
Officially, five new cases were recorded but these infections were announced on Thursday, taking Melbourne‘s new unexpected cluster linked to a Thai restaurant to eight.
It comes as Victorians are facing lengthy queues to get back into the state from New South Wales before the hard border closure comes in at midnight.
Authorities on Friday reported no new diagnoses of coronavirus for Victoria in past 24 hours, after the emergence of eight locally-acquired cases over the past two days. Pictured: Revellers line-up in face masks for New Year’s Eve celebrations in Melbourne
In the state’s west at Genoa, one motorist on Friday reported a wait of almost six hours as a line of hundreds of cars snaked through a checkpoint.
Growing coronavirus case numbers in NSW on Thursday prompted Victorian authorities to impose a hard border from midnight Friday. Anyone arriving after that time must spend a fortnight in quarantine.
The news sparked an urgent dash for the border by many Victorians holidaying outside the state.
Anyone crossing back on Friday needs to have a border permit and must isolate at home for 14 days.
Those still making their way home have until 11.59pm Friday to cross before being forced into hotel quarantine as the state scrambles to avoid a third wave of the deadly virus.
Eight locally acquired cases of coronavirus were detected in 24 hours to Thursday afternoon, but Victoria is equipped to handle new clusters, Premier Daniel Andrews says.
The cases, which first emerged on Wednesday night, ended a 60-day streak without infections for Victoria.
All are directly or indirectly linked to the Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant in Black Rock on December 21, which was attended by a NSW returned traveller.
That traveller returned before border permits were in place and was being tested on Thursday.
It was also revealed on Friday that wastewater samples taken from Lakes Entrance on December 29 recorded traces of the virus, prompting calls or anyone in that area with symptoms to get tested.
More to come
COVID TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
- Western Australia – All NSW residents are banned from entering WA. Anyone who enters the state will be ‘sent back’, according to Premier Mark McGowan.
- Victoria – A hard border has been put up, with the entire state of NSW declared a red zone. If people cross into Victoria before 11.59pm on New Year’s Eve, they must self- isolate until they test negative. If they enter before 11.59pm on New Year’s Day, they must self-isolate for 14 days regardless of test results. If they cross into the state after January 1, they must spend two weeks in mandatory hotel quarantine.
- Northern Territory – The state has declared greater metropolitan Sydney as a Covid-19 hotspot, and travellers will need to undergo 14 days of supervised quarantine.
- South Australia – Harder border closure to all NSW residents from midnight on New Year’s Eve. Returning South Australians must quarantine for 14 days. A 100km border buffer zone, including Broken Hill and Wentworth, will be exempt.
- Queensland – Queensland has shut its borders to Greater Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast. Locals returning to the Sunshine State from a hotspot must isolate.
- ACT – Anyone who has been in Greater Sydney, the Central Coast or Wollongong must quarantine for 14 days in a government facility.
- Tasmania – Northern Beaches residents banned. All people from Greater Sydney must also quarantine upon entry.