NSW to open Victorian border, ACT to follow suit

Dominic Giannini 4 November 2020
Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith says the ACT will follow NSW in easing border restrictions with Victoria. Photo: Region Media.

The ACT will follow NSW’s lead and open up to Victorians from 23 November, ACT Health has confirmed.

Permits will no longer be required to cross the border or fly from Melbourne to Canberra and the 14-day mandatory quarantine for returning Canberrans will be scrapped.

Restrictions in Victoria are set to ease further on 8 November, giving ACT Health and NSW Health just over a fortnight to closely monitor the situation, the departments said.

Today (4 November) marks the fifth day in a row that Victoria has recorded no new COVID-19 cases.

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“The reopening of the NSW / Victorian border will be very welcome news for many Canberrans with family and friends in Victoria,” ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said.

“While the situation in Victoria continues to improve, we need to carefully monitor the impact of eased restrictions due to commence in Victoria this week.

“Waiting a full two weeks before making changes will allow enough time for ACT Health to assess the impact of restrictions and ensures the ACT is consistent with NSW.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that the announcement should give people the confidence to make holiday plans and reunite with family members ahead of Christmas.

“We have worked closely with the Victorian Government throughout the border closure and will continue to monitor the situation as restrictions are eased,” she said.

The ACT and NSW closed its borders to Victoria at the start of July after a second COVID-19 outbreak started spreading throughout Melbourne.

The closure led to around 100 Canberrans being trapped at the NSW-Victorian border after the permit system was suddenly changed by the NSW Premier a month later.

The closure was heavily criticised by border towns.

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