Victoria is forcing every person seeking to enter the Australian state to obtain a new permit, including people who live there. Those who flout the new Covid-19 rules risk being slapped with an AU$5,000 ($3,856) fine.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the new regulation while detailing a relaxation of his state’s hard border with New South Wales.
The changes mean that Victoria residents stuck in regional parts of the neighboring state – which have been designated as an ‘orange zone’ – can prepare to return to their homes. However, the city of Sydney remains designated as a ‘red zone’ and is not included in the relaxed measures.
The new rules apply to every arrival in the state, even those from Covid-safe states and territories that have not experienced virus outbreaks in months.
As well as obtaining the permit, travellers from an ‘orange zone’ are required to get tested within 72 hours of arriving and must quarantine until they receive a negative test result.
Andrews has faced criticism from civil liberties campaigners and political opponents for his tough measures throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The latest move was blasted by opposition Leader Michael O’Brien, who accused the government of overreach for policing people who travel through green zones.
“Doesn’t matter if you’ve been to a green zone that’s never had a case of coronavirus in its history, you now need the Government’s permission before you can come back to Victoria,” O’Brien said.
This is a huge step, it puts the Government in control of every single Victorian’s life.
Reports in Australian news outlets suggest the traffic light system could remain in place for much of 2021.
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