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Australian State Of Victoria Bans Sydney Travelers, Rules For Covid-19 To Ease

Ahead of another expected announcement on easing, Victorian authorities have effectively outlawed travel from Sydney's red zones.

SYDNEY — Victorian health authorities are expected to unveil more eased Covid-19 restrictions, as the state effectively shut its border to seven Sydney municipalities.

Over the past three Wednesdays, the state government has announced regional Victoria and Melbourne would move to more relaxed rules as its recent lockdown-inducing outbreaks wind down.

Acting Premier James Merlino refused to foreshadow if that would be the case again, although Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he has “strong expectations” the state can take the next step later this week.

“We’re absolutely on the right track,” he told reporters on June 22.

Map of Victoria Australia

Sutton added it was likely fewer differences in rules for regional Victoria and Melbourne would remain.

He flagged good news was on the way for larger guest lists at weddings this weekend but would not be drawn on whether crowds would be allowed at Australian Football League, A-League, and National Basketball League games.

Late on June 22, Sutton declared seven Sydney local government areas red zones under Victoria’s travel permit system after the harbor city’s Covid-19 outbreak intensified.

The move effectively banned residents from the municipalities of the City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick entering Victoria from 1 am on June 23.

“If you enter at an airport or seaport from a red zone without a permit, you will be fined and will stay in hotel quarantine until return transport is arranged,” the health department said.

Cars line up for Covid-19 testing at Bondi in Sydney, June 22, 2021. NSW has recorded 10 new local cases of Covid-19 lifting the number of infections linked to Sydney’s Bondi cluster to 21. (Joel Carrett/AAP Image)

Victorian residents who have been in a red zone — other than for transit — can still return to the state with a permit but must self-isolate at home for 14 days.

Wollongong has also been listed as an orange zone, meaning incoming travelers from there must get tested soon after arrival and isolate until they receive a negative result.

The health department said Prof Sutton strongly discourages any non-essential travel into Victoria from red or orange zones.

It comes as Victorians are being welcomed back to other states in time for the southern state’s school holidays. South Australia and Queensland announced on June 22 they would reopen their borders to Victoria from June 25.

Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino (center) tours the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Melbourne, June 20, 2021. (Penny Stephens/AAP Image)

Tasmania and the Northern Territory have also opened their borders to Greater Melbourne, while the travel bubble with New Zealand resumes from June 23.

Victoria recorded no new locally acquired cases of coronavirus on June 23, following 13,176 tests.

It’s the sixth consecutive day the state has recorded either zero or one new local case.  while the number of exposure sites has dropped to 96.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ritaban Misra. Map by Urvashi Makwana)

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