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Locked out: Victorians isolated from nation to contain second wave

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The Victorian border with New South Wales will be closed after the state recorded its largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.

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The border will close from 11:59pm AEST on Tuesday after talks between Berejiklian, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Victoria has for weeks grappled with a coronavirus outbreak in multiple Melbourne suburbs with botched hotel quarantines leading to outbreaks.

“All of us have agreed that the best thing to do is close the border – that closure will be enforced on the NSW side,” Mr Andrews told reporters.

Andrews said Victoria recorded 127 new coronavirus cases overnight and a man in his 90s had died in a Victorian hospital overnight.

The Victorian Premier said the three leaders agreed closing the border would be the “smart call” at this point in time.

“That closure will be enforced on the New South Wales side, so as not to be a drain on resources that are very much focused on fighting the virus right now across our state,” Andrews said.

The decision follows a weekend in which Victoria recorded 108 new cases on Saturday — the second-highest increase in the state in a single day since the pandemic began — and locked down nine public housing estates in inner Melbourne in a bid to contain an outbreak of the virus.

Another 74 coronavirus cases were recorded in the state yesterday.

The Premier said of today’s 127 new cases, 16 were detected in the public housing towers that have been locked down.

NSW on Sunday recorded 14 new coronavirus cases but all were returned travellers from overseas who are now in hotel quarantine.

Berejiklian has consistently criticised interstate travel restrictions as a handbrake on economic recovery and insisted she wouldn’t agree to border closures with any neighbouring states.

She has also said that a shut Victorian border would harm Albury-Wodonga and complained about the impact of Queensland’s border closure on Tweed Heads.

But Berejiklian on Monday changed tack as nine public housing towers in Melbourne and 12 Victorian postcodes were locked down due to COVID-19.

NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Jeremy McNulty over the weekend said four residents of virus-hit Sydney nursing home Newmarch House and an XPT passenger who were showing symptoms all tested negative to COVID-19.

An outbreak at the western Sydney facility run by Anglicare was declared over in mid-June after 37 residents and 34 staff caught the virus and 19 residents died.

Any NSW residents who have returned from a hotspot location in outer-suburban Melbourne need to self-quarantine for 14 days.

VICTORIA-NSW BORDER CLOSURE

* The border will close from 11:59pm Tuesday night

* Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilian agreed the measure on Monday morning

* Border will be enforced from the NSW side

* Permit system will be used for people with unavoidable travel to NSW

* People living in border communities will be able to travel for work and essential health services

* Specific arrangements will be set up for healthcare in Albury-Wodonga – Victoria runs the Albury Hospital even though it is located in NSW

-AAP

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