An alarming number of travellers from Melbourne are flying into Sydney despite the hard closure of the Victoria-NSW border.
Between 100 and 200 people have arrived in the Harbour City from Australia’s coronavirus capital every day over the past week.
And domestic travellers aren’t required to undergo the mandatory two-week hotel quarantine imposed on those coming from overseas.
But New South Wales Health told Daily Mail Australia it has strict measures in place at airports to ensure Sydney wasn’t hit with a Victoria-style outbreak.
‘Any traveller who arrives from Victoria into Sydney domestic airport is screened for symptoms and has a temperature check upon arrival,’ the spokesperson said.
‘It is recommended that anyone arriving from Victoria be collected in a private car by family or friends. If they cannot be collected in a private car, they can travel by taxi.
‘Self-isolation guidelines are provided to everyone when they arrive from Victoria.’
Sydney Airport Health Commander Sarah Nielsen said passengers understand there are processes when leaving the airport.
‘We give very specific instructions that they need to handle their own luggage, that they need to sit in the back seat with the windows down,’ she told news.com.au
‘If there is four people, they can’t fit in an Uber and we explain that to them, they would need two separate Ubers or taxis and we remind them about hand hygiene, we check that they have a mask for that travel in the taxi or the Uber and we also check that they know how to fit the mask
‘If we can see that they have got their mask under their nose or anything like that, we remind them and we also give them the information sheet on how to check that a mask is fitting correctly.’
Passengers arriving domestically are required to spend 14 days in self-isolation at their own home, rather than locked inside a hotel.
New South Wales Opposition Leader Jodi Mackay is urging authorities to bring in stronger restrictions for those arriving by air.
‘We have a situation in New South Wales where the land borders have been closed, but the same restrictions have not been applied to our air borders,’ she said.
‘We are seeing flights come in on a daily basis. There are hundreds of people coming into Victoria from New South Wales who we trust are isolating in their homes for two weeks.’
Anyone who has been in Victoria in the past 14 days is banned from entering New South Wales without a border permit under the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Amendment.
Exemptions can be granted for those living in border zones, those travelling through the state to Queensland, members of parliament, consular officials, boarding school students and staff, or those providing critical services including defence and medicine.
Permits can also be granted on compassionate grounds.
New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Tuesday he was pleased with the compliance of passengers.
‘What we’re finding with most of our visitors into our state, returning travellers, if they’re asked to self-isolate, they do,’ Mr Hazzard said.
‘The short message to Victorians is you shouldn’t be coming to New South Wales, unless you have a particular permit entitlement.
‘I know there has been commentary about ‘why don’t we have quarantine in the same way we have for international travellers?’. That was set up for a reason and that is we need all international travellers to be able to be managed here and we have done that successfully over some months.’
The New South Wales Government has conducted over 23,000 compliance checks on isolation including over 300 in the last 24 hours.