The NSW premier has issued a blunt demand to other state leaders after the state recorded its first local case of COVID in 55 days.
The NSW premier has issued a blunt demand to other state leaders after the state recorded its first local case of COVID in 55 days.

Border demand after new case in NSW

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has pleaded with other state leaders to keep their borders open as health officials race to determine how a quarantine worker became infected with COVID-19.

Ms Berejiklian issued the blunt demand while addressing the media on Tuesday, saying there's "no reason" for borders to close.

"It's absolutely important our state borders remain open," she said.

"There is no reason now … for anywhere in Australia to have internal borders."

News of the case comes just weeks ahead of the Easter holidays and as Victorian health officials considered border changes in response to the case.

The Victorian health department revealed on Sunday night areas of NSW could be redesignated as red or orange zones as further information emerged about the 47-year-old security guard who tested positive on Saturday.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is urging other leaders not to close their borders. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is urging other leaders not to close their borders. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper

A red zone designation means people would be banned from entering Victoria if from that particular region, while an orange zone requires people travelling from that area to apply for a permit, get a COVID-19 test with 72 hours of arrival and self-quarantine until a negative result is received.

The health department said chief health officer Brett Sutton would have the final say on areas being redesignated as red or orange zones.

Auckland is currently the only region in Australia or New Zealand designated as an orange zone by Victorian health authorities. There are no red zones.

The security guard, who has a full-time job in an office but also works as a security guard on weekends at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney's CBD as well as the Mantra at Haymarket, was the first local case of COVID-19 in NSW in 55 days.

The NSW Premier said given the vaccine is being rolled out the level of community transmission is low, there shouldn't be internal borders.

"We should be moving freely as Australians," Ms Berejiklian said.

Victorian health authorities were considering reinforcing the red and orange zones. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Mariuz
Victorian health authorities were considering reinforcing the red and orange zones. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Mariuz

"Even if one state makes a snap decision to close a border, everybody loses confidence because people don't want to move around if they think they're not going to be able to get home."

On Monday health minister Brad Hazzard told 2GB's Jim Wilson he had not spoken to any of his interstate counterparts but that closing the border would be a "gross over-reaction" and "just plain silly".

There have been no new local cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in NSW since the quarantine worker's case was revealed late on Saturday night.

His household contacts have so far returned negative results.

Genomic testing showed the man had the same highly-contagious UK strain of the virus as a returned traveller at the hotel quarantine, but it is not known how the virus was transmitted.

Originally published as Gladys's border demand after case


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