Australia

Victoria to reopen to regional NSW, as premier unveils new ‘traffic light’ system for interstate travel


Victoria will reopen to people from regional NSW, with the government introducing a new “traffic light” system for interstate travel.

The permit system, which designates regions in other parts of Australia as green, orange or red depending on coronavirus risk, will go live from 6pm on Monday.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed under the new system, regional NSW is classified as orange.

Sydney and Brisbane will remain red for now, although Mr Andrews said this may change “late in the week”.

“We know this is a deeply inconvenient and challenging time for you but there is no alternative but to follow the best public health advice and make sure we do nothing … to jeopardise the precious thing we have built here,” the premier told reporters on Monday. 

Anyone wanting to come to Victoria from regional NSW will need to apply for a permit via the Services Victoria website, while current permits, including transit and workers permits, will remain valid.

A new $4,957 fine will apply to anyone arriving in the state without a permit.

It comes after a child who attended a childcare centre in Melbourne’s southeast tested positive to COVID-19 since travelling overseas.

The state’s health department on Monday confirmed the Australian child tested positive to the virus after arriving in Israel on 9 January.

The child attended the Explorers Early Learning Centre in Armadale, about eight kilometres southeast of Melbourne, on 7 January.

“We are working with colleagues in Israel to confirm the test result,” a Department of Health and Human Services spokesman said in a statement to AAP.

“In the meantime, DHHS are taking all necessary precautions and investigating potential exposure sites – including where the child may have been exposed themselves.”

The centre has been contacted and cleaning and contact tracing is underway.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton suspects the case is a false positive.

“Children are extremely low risk of having serious illness; they can become infected but the transmissibility childcare settings is pretty low and my suspicion is this is not a true case,” he said.

Monday marks the fifth consecutive day the state has recorded no new local or interstate cases of COVID-19, though a returned traveller in hotel quarantine has tested positive.

It brings the total number of active cases in the state to 40.

About 18,660 people were tested in the previous 24 hours.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, ACT, Tasmania.

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