page headers Coronavirus

Victoria tightens border bubble with NSW

Martin Foley 20210206001518612379 600x400

Victoria is tightening the NSW border bubble, banning non-essential movement across state lines over the threat of Sydney's worsening COVID-19 outbreak.

From 11.59pm on Tuesday, border bubble residents will only be able to cross state lines for six reasons including medical care, compassionate reasons, work, education, playing sport or getting vaccinated.

The new measure only applies to the NSW-Victorian border bubble residents.

Residents crossing from either side must also not travel any further than necessary for that purpose.

"If you're from Albury, please don't shop in Wangaratta, Werribee or Warrnambool if the essential reason for your travel can be attended to in Wodonga," Health Minister Martin Foley told reporters.

NSW cross-border residents have previously been able to travel into Victoria including Melbourne for any reason.

"I would have thought that Victorians will have been a little bit surprised that you could holiday, if you're in the border bubble on NSW side, in Lorne if you wanted to," Mr Foley said.

"Or that you could have shopped in Bourke Street, if you wanted to."

Mr Foley confirmed there were no coronavirus cases in any NSW local government areas in the border bubble, but insists the change is necessary due to the risk of the virus spreading out of Greater Sydney.

"We know that it will have an impact on many border residents, but we also know that an outbreak of the Delta variant on our doorstep will have an even more negative impact upon our border communities," he said.

Anyone caught crossing the border for a non-essential reason could face a $5452 fine.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has also recommended Victoria abandon group booking limits for hospitality venues, tours and gyms, but density limits will remain.

Victoria has recorded two new local cases of COVID-19, both linked to the state's current outbreaks and in isolation for their entire infectious period.

The health department's deputy secretary Kate Matson said both were household contacts, one of last week's Moonee Valley traffic controller and the other of the AAMI Park outbreak.

There are 134 active cases in Victoria, eight of whom are in hospital including three in intensive care.

Another 1300 close contacts were cleared to leave isolation on Sunday.

Residents of a Richmond apartment block are among the fewer than 4000 close contacts still isolating across the state. All have returned an initial negative test but will continue to isolate for the full 14 days from exposure.

People who arrived from locked down southeast Queensland before it became a red zone on Saturday night will be phoned on Monday if they are yet to have their mandatory test within 72 hours.

They have also been asked to get a day seven test as an extra precaution.

More than 21,000 test results were received in the 24 hours to Monday morning, while about 15,000 vaccine doses were administered at state-run sites.

Victoria has changed its regime for rolling out Pfizer at state clinics to boost overall vaccination rates, moving second doses from three to six weeks from Monday.

© AAP 2021

Photo: Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley (AAP Image/Erik Anderson)

Tags: coronavirus