Victoria shuts border to Darwin as authorities warn against interstate travel


Victoria is set to impose new border restrictions on Darwin as Northern Territory enters a snap lockdown after an outbreak linked to a remote mine has grown to five cases.

This comes as Victoria recorded no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, with three cases recorded in hotel quarantine.In the past day 20,698 test results came in and almost 15,000 vaccine doses were administered at state-run centres.

New exposure sites have been identified in the state after a Virgin Australia flight attendant tested positive to COVID-19 after flying to several cities, including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

The positive case flew into Melbourne on Virgin Flight VA334 from Brisbane on Friday, spending the night at the Holiday Inn Express Southbank, where they remained in isolation before taking a Sydney flight yesterday.

Victorian health authorities are not counting the flight attendant in the local coronavirus figures.

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Meanwhile, contact tracers have been attempting to get ahead of any spread associated with an Oakleigh man in his 60s who tested positive on Thursday after returning from Sydney a week ago.

The man’s colleague, the owner of Sandringham Dry Cleaners, also tested positive.

Genomic sequencing showed the men had the Delta strain, and both of them remain in hotel quarantine.

COVID-19 Response Commander Jeroen Weimar said the three areas of focus for health authorities at the moment were managing the risk of COVID-19 getting into Victoria from other states, following up the cases associated with the Sandringham Dry Cleaners and also continuing work to address the Delta and Kappa variant outbreaks.

He urged Victorians not to consider travelling to NSW, except for residents of border communities who are able to travel within the travel bubble on either side of the Murray River.

“Please do not travel to NSW at this time, it is an unpredictable situation and we want to ensure that we protect our state and protect the wider Australian east coast as best we can,” he said.

All of NSW now orange and red zones for Victorians

Acting Premier James Merlino said authorities were “watching the situation in NSW extremely closely” and that the public health team remained on high alert.

“At 1:00am this morning all of regional NSW and the ACT, excluding the local government areas on the NSW border, became an orange zone under Victoria’s travel permit system,” he said.

“If you are coming to Victoria from an orange zone, you need to isolate, get tested within 72 hours and stay isolated until you receive a negative result.”

Greater Sydney, Shellharbour, Central Coast and Wollongong remain red zones.

A Victoria Police officer checks a driver's licence and permit at a highway checkpoint
Victorian authorities have declared all of NSW either red or orange zones under the state’s travel permit system, and will consider even stricter border measures based on public health advice.(

ABC News: Ron Ekkel

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Mr Merlino said he sent his “best wishes” to all of the people in NSW who were abiding by restrictions in an effort to curb the state’s outbreak.

He said Victoria’s public health team was monitoring the situation and would make changes if needed.

Darwin designated red zone

The Greater Darwin area will be designated a red zone under Victoria’s travel permit system, effective 8:00pm Sunday, 27 June.

It includes the Local Government Areas of the City of Darwin, City of Palmerston and Litchfield.

Passengers on flights to Victoria from Greater Darwin scheduled to depart before the red zone comes into effect can enter Victoria on green zone permits.

Non-Victorian resident in a red zone cannot obtain a permit to enter Victoria, other than for transit.

Victorian residents who have been in a red zone, other than for transit, can obtain a red zone permit to enter Victoria but they must travel directly home, get tested, and quarantine for 14 days.

Only 17 active cases left from Delta, Kappa outbreaks

Mr Weimar said there had been a total of 108 cases identified as part of the Delta and Kappa outbreaks that led to Victoria’s lockdown, but only 17 of those people remained active cases.

He said those figures demonstrated the success of more than 10,000 primary close contacts undertaking periods of isolation.

He said there were 128 passengers on the flight that arrived in Melbourne from Brisbane on Friday afternoon associated with the flight attendant who has since tested positive.

Health authorities are still contacting all those passengers but are advising anyone on flight VA344 from Brisbane to Melbourne to isolate and get tested right away.

Mr Weimar said out of 900 workers from a Northern Territory gold mine where a positive case had been identified, three were known to be in Victoria. He said he expected that number to grow.

The Sandringham workplace cluster remains at two and all 49 residents of an Oakleigh housing complex the man who tested positive lived in have returned a negative test.

Mr Weimar also said that of 131 passengers from a JetStar flight last Sunday linked to the Oakleigh man, 121 had tested negative.

Another 36 primary close contacts from public transport trips had been identified and contacted by health authorities, and out of 61 primary close contacts identified as customers of the dry cleaning business, 53 had tested negative.

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