Pressure builds on leaders to reopen NSW-Victoria border

After recording two consecutive days of zero coronavirus cases in Victoria, all eyes are on when NSW will reopen the border to the Garden State.

But on Wednesday, Victoria recorded another two cases and two further deaths.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian made the decision to close off NSW as cases began to escalate across Victoria on July 7, and it has remained closed ever since.

But after months of lockdown measures appear to have reduced case numbers in Victoria to a manageable level, there are calls for NSW to reopen the border as soon as possible to get the economy moving again.

Multiple federal government MPs along the state’s border, along with Australian airline Qantas, are calling on the NSW Government to allow unrestricted travel into and out of the state.

While Premier Daniel Andrews hinted at a discussion with Ms Berejiklian this week, the NSW counterpart said she will not make any rushed decisions and that Victoria still had a big hurdle to clear.

When questioned over the current border closure with Victoria, Ms Berejiklian said the Garden State had to prove their contact tracing was up to scratch.

“We want to open that border (with Victoria) as soon as we can but what is really important to us is to see what happens once the Government eases restrictions down there. That’s the real test,” Ms Berejiklian said on Tuesday.

“I knew the real test for NSW is not lockdown, it’s easy not to spread the virus when people have limited mobility, but once you ease restrictions and people start moving around again and start working, that’s the real test and I think the residents of NSW would expect me and my Government to be responsible in how we deal with that.

“So we’ll take the border down as soon as we can, but we do need to wait to see what impact easing of restrictions in Melbourne and Victoria has before we decide exactly when that will be.”

RELATED: Former Queensland Premier says state must follow NSW’s lead

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is reluctant to reopen the border with Victoria just yet. Picture: Steven Saphore/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews hopes to discuss the border opening with NSW this week. Picture: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

RELATED: South Australia may not open to Victoria for another 28 days

According to The Age and theSydney Morning Herald, some MPs are concerned Victoria’s contact tracing is not at the same level as NSW, making them wary of a reopening.

“A couple of zeros does not make a COVID-free state,” one NSW Minister told the publications on the condition of anonymity. Another signalled it could be weeks before the border restrictions are dropped.

As the second busiest route in the world, it’s no surprise Qantas is eyeing off a reopening between both states as soon as possible to cater for air traffic between Sydney and Melbourne.

“Given Victoria’s hard-won success at getting things under control, we’re hopeful the quarantine requirement with other states will be removed very soon,” Qantas spokesman Andrew McGinnes said, noting air traffic between both cities had dropped by 99 per cent compared to October last year.

There are hopes the border between NSW and Victoria will be open sooner rather than later. Picture: Simon DallingerSource:News Corp Australia

Meanwhile, South Australia may wait at least 28 days before reopening its border to Victoria, with Police Commissioner Grant Stevens pointing to a 14-day mandatory quarantine measure as the first step for Victorians.

“When a jurisdiction is able to locate the source of an infection, the level of concern is reduced dramatically, so we’re looking for Victoria to get through a period where there is no community transmission or if there is, they can identify that source,” Mr Stevens said on Tuesday following the state’s Transition Committee meeting.

“We require people to quarantine for 14 days so we’re satisfied they are not carrying the virus or infected, so it will be somewhere between 14 and 28 days depending on how Victoria is travelling.

“When you look at the incidents of Victoria and the troubles they’ve had, it may well be the case that SA Health will be looking at two incubation cycles (28 days) to be confident they got a lid on the virus.”

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