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Change comes to NSW border restrictions to stop Victorians entering the state amid COVID-19 surge

Tougher border restrictions are now in place for people wanting to enter NSW from Victoria, including a border zone set up along the Murray River as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state.

The new restrictions began at midnight with cross-border travel only permitted for work, education, medical care, supplies or health services.

Among the changed permit requirements, staff or students of boarding schools or universities must self-isolate for two weeks and obtain a negative swab before attending school.

Seasonal workers from Victoria are banned from entering NSW.

Transport Workers Union of NSW secretary Richard Olsen said the cancellation of previous travel permits and the need to reapply had caused ‘confusion, anxiety and angst’ in the transport industry on Tuesday night.

‘Drivers are already under pressure, with the squeeze on the transport industry as a critical service during this pandemic,’ Mr Olsen said in a statement.

‘The NSW government must do better and allow for drivers to plan ahead so they can continue the provision of an essential critical service.’

The tough changes come amid fears an emerging second wave of COVID-19 in NSW could result in Queensland declaring more hotspots and denying entry to more people from the state. 

Queensland has declared the whole state of Victoria a hotspot, as well as the Liverpool and Campbelltown areas near a popular pub in southwestern Sydney which is linked to about 50 cases.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says her government is looking at blacklisting even more areas in NSW.

‘I had a preliminary discussion yesterday with the deputy premier and also the chief health officer,’ she told reporters on Tuesday.

‘We’re going to look at what happens in NSW today, but we are considering adding further hotspots at this stage,’ she said.

The placement of checkpoints along the Queensland-NSW border remains a sore point for both premiers, with neither prepared to concede ground.

Ms Palaszczuk wants the border moved south to the Tweed River to resolve traffic congestion in Tweed Heads and Coolangatta where locals have been blocked in their driveways.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says, if anything, checkpoints should move further into Queensland.

NSW recorded 13 new COVID-19 cases from almost 16,000 tests in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday, including 10 people associated with an outbreak at the Thai Rock Restaurant in Stockland Mall at Wetherill Park.

Another two new cases were associated with the Crossroads Hotel cluster in Casula, which has risen to 50 cases.

NSW Health is urging anyone who visited the Salamander Bay Shopping Centre on July 15 to watch for COVID-19 symptoms following a confirmed case in the Port Stephens area. The new case is a man in his 60s, who was infected by a visitor from Sydney.

The Sydney contact also visited the Windsor Castle Hotel in East Maitland between 6pm and 8pm on July 13.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she won’t yet follow Victoria’s lead in enforcing mask use in public but urges people to wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible.

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