Coronavirus updates LIVE: New permit rules leave Victorians stranded; Sydneysiders in dark about travel as partner of COVID-infected Brisbane cleaner tests positive

Summary

  • Victoria is hoping to reach its sixth consecutive day without a new locally acquired case. NSW had three new local cases linked to the Berala cluster in western Sydney on Monday. Two more cases – a man who attended Mount Druitt hospital’s emergency department in western Sydney and his close household contact – will be included in today’s figures.
  • Greater Brisbane residents have emerged from their snap, three-day hard lockdown, but masks remain mandatory in indoor public places. 
  • The partner of the Brisbane quarantine hotel cleaner who spent five days in the community with the more infectious UK COVID-19 variant and led to a three-day city lockdown has also tested positive to the virus. So far, two new locations including a Bunnings Warehouse and bottleshop in Brisbane’s south have been added to the city’s list of exposure sites as a result.
  • Every Australian intending to enter Victoria will need to apply for a travel permit under the Andrews government’s ‘traffic light’ system, which was initially hit by technical glitches on Monday night.
  • The UK recorded 46,169 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and another 529 deaths. The country’s coronavirus death toll is the fifth highest in the world behind the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.

'You are in a COVID-19 red zone. No entry to Victoria without exemption'

This morning, Australia is a country divided. A full-page ad in today's Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, taken out by the Victorian government, reads: "You are in a COVID-19 red zone. No entry to Victoria without exemption."

The Victorian government’s advertisement in Tuesday’s Sydney Morning Herald.

Under a new “traffic light” system introduced by Victoria from 6pm on Monday, people in regional NSW and the Central Coast (an "orange zone") can now apply for a permit to travel south of the border provided they have a coronavirus test within 72 hours of arrival.

But anyone who has been in Greater Sydney – a "red zone" defined as Sydney, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains – are not allowed to enter Victoria without an exemption. If they do enter the state unauthorised they will be fined $4957 and either returned on the next flight or, if they are a resident, required to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

There is no explanation for what the criteria is for a region to be classified green, orange or red.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews did not give a timeline or explanation for when Sydneysiders might qualify for permits but said the situation would be reviewed daily. "The stakes are very high here: we have built something that is precious and it needs to be safeguarded," he said.

Meanwhile, West Australian Premier Mark McGowan and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian exchanged barbs on Monday, as NSW continued to uncover small numbers of daily local cases while other states recorded consecutive days without community transmission.

Mr McGowan, who has a hard border in place for all of NSW, accused Ms Berejiklian of “ticking along with the virus” and “doing something different” to the rest of the country.

Ms Berejiklian said her state's approach to the pandemic was "completely consistent" with national cabinet. "The target is zero community transmission," she said.

"As long as there are flights returning citizens to Australia, elimination of COVID-19 is impossible.

Read more here.

NSW Deputy Premier says overseas deaths of aunt and uncle from COVID-19 is 'stark reminder'

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has said the death of his aunt and uncle from COVID-19 in Italy last month had changed his perspective on the pandemic.

Mr Barilaro yesterday revealed his aunt Maria Inzillo and her husband Damiani Nesci, who lived in the Italian city of Genoa, died with the virus in December.

Speaking on Sydney radio station 2GB this morning, Mr Barilaro said his uncle had passed away just before Christmas and his aunt just before the new year.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro.Credit:James Brickwood

"She wasn’t aware he had passed because she was put into an induced coma," he said.

"They got unwell, went straight into hospital, were locked away in real terms … we didn’t get to say goodbye."

Mr Barilaro said he had been reminded of Australians' compliance and that "our health system is world-class".

"Once you see what has occurred, and the Italian health system isn’t great, never has been … the reality is it’s a stark reminder," Mr Barilaro said.

"We talk about this virus, and I think a lot of people talk about it … do we really know someone who's had the virus or passed away? It changes your whole perspective on what this is."

He said it was his instinct to "push the health advice" while NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian tended to be more cautious, but that he believed the state had gotten the right balance in its approach to managing the pandemic.

New travel rules leave Victorians stranded

Another day, another set of rules to remember. Under a new traffic light system that aims to halt the spread of COVID-19 between states, any Australian wishing to enter Victoria – including returning residents – will have to apply for a permit online.

The arrangement, which came into force last night, sees Australia divided up into green, orange and red zones.

Those in green and orange areas (regional NSW and the Central Coast) can enter Victoria, which means some travellers in NSW can come home if they get a permit, get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.

But anyone in a red zone (Greater Sydney and Brisbane) cannot, leaving many Victorians stuck in the cities with no pathway to return. Existing permits are still valid but the fine for arriving without one is $5000; communities along the NSW border zone are exempt.

Read more here.

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Front pages of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald

Here's what is making front-page headlines on this Monday:

New "traffic light" travel rules will leave many Victorians stuck in Sydney and Brisbane. Sydneysiders are no closer to knowing when they can travel interstate as border bickering between premiers worsens amid a handful of new coronavirus cases in the city's west and fresh venue alerts for the northern beaches.

Meanwhile, some women say they are delaying having a baby until more is known about any potential side effects of getting a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant.

Global cases pass 90.6 million

This time yesterday, the global tally of cases has passed 90 million. Today, the figure stands at 90,673,898, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The number of infections worldwide has doubled in just 10 weeks – COVID-19 infections had hit 45 million as recently as late October.

You can explore our data centre below:

Welcome to Tuesday's coverage

Hello and welcome to Monday's live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. It's Marissa Calligeros here coming to you from Brisbane, where the city has emerged from its three-day lockdown.

Yesterday was another day in which the rhetoric over coronavirus restrictions was significantly more dramatic than the number of cases – here's a quick recap of where we are:

  • Victoria recorded its fifth consecutive day of no new locally acquired cases. NSW reported three new locally acquired cases linked to the Berala cluster in western Sydney. Two more cases – a man who attended Mount Druitt hospital's emergency department in western Sydney and his close household contact – will be included in today's figures.
  • Every Australian intending to enter Victoria will need to apply for a travel permit under the Andrews government’s “traffic light” system to prevent domestic travellers spreading coronavirus.
  • Technical hitches were blamed for the three-hour delay on the opening of Victoria's new "traffic light" travel permit system last night after the state's Chief Health Officer disputed claims from the Premier's office that his delay in signing the legal direction required to enforce the system caused the problem.
  • Greater Brisbane residents have emerged from their snap, three-day hard lockdown, but masks remain mandatory in indoor public places, including shops and supermarkets.
  • Two new locations including a Bunnings Warehouse and bottleshop in Brisbane’s south have been added to the city's list of potential COVID-19 exposure sites after the partner of a quarantine hotel cleaner infected with the UK variant of the virus also tested positive yesterday afternoon.
  • The WA Premier, who closed his state's border to the Sunshine State on Friday, indicated that Queensland will have to clock up 28 days of zero cases before they are allowed back. Victoria is also closed to people from Greater Brisbane.
  • The war of words continued over state border closures, with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian hitting back at comments made by her Western Australian counterpart Mark McGowan, who accused her of not pursuing the same public health strategy as other states. "There's five states and territories doing one thing, and one state doing something different," Mr McGowan said.

Monday, as it happened: Greater Brisbane lockdown to end, mask mandate to continue; NSW records three new local COVID-19 cases

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