Worrying figure behind huge delays at Victoria-NSW border

Victoria’s health department has assessed just 175 of 2295 exemption applications for people to enter the state for compassionate or medical reasons.

It comes as queues of cars remain stranded at the border after the Victorian government deemed the whole of NSW a virus red zone and slammed the border shut to the state over New Year’s.

In a statement, the Department of Health and Human Services said it had worked through 175 exemptions on Sunday.

“In all cases, those applying have provided evidence of negative COVID-19 tests. More staff are being deployed to speed up this process,” it said.

People travelling across must then get a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of coming into Victoria.

Acting Premier Jacinta Allan says priority will be given to people who need to come into Victoria for medical needs. Picture: David Crosling/NCA NewsWireSource:News Corp Australia

Acting Premier Jacinta Allan said there was “priority” to get people across who had medical needs and other emergencies, with other situations assessed “case-by-case”.

“We’d encourage Victorians to apply for consideration,” she said on Monday.

“For residents who live in the established border bubble they can come in, there’s no limit on them being able to return.”

She said the state government was “having a look” at cases where families were trying to get across the border in time for school.

“But any decision based on anyone coming back from NSW will only be granted an exemption based on the health advice and their movements at the time,” she said.

Victoria recorded four new cases of coronavirus on Monday – one remains in hotel quarantine and three were locally acquired and linked to the Black Rock restaurant cluster.

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