South Australia premier Steven Marshall has announced the border to NSW will slam shut from one minute past midnight.
South Australia premier Steven Marshall has announced the border to NSW will slam shut from one minute past midnight.

Midnight deadline to flee NSW

Victorians have been told to get out of New South Wales, authorities warning the "quickly changing situation" could leave people trapped in the wrong state.

And South Australia will slam its borders shut, as Sydney's COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow.

SA Premier Steven Marshall announced a hard border closure to NSW would come into effect as the clock ticks over into 2021, citing the "disturbing circumstances" of COVID-19 globally.

 

He said there will be few exemptions for those returning after 12.01am on Friday, but SA residents, people permanently moving states, and classes of essential travellers will be permitted.

All those groups will still need to self-isolate for 14 days.

 

 

Mr Marshall said a 100km buffer zone will be implemented for cross-border communities, allowing people in Broken Hill and Wentworth to freely enter the state.

"We're also going to be putting some transit allowances because there are people travelling through NSW who won't be stopping," Mr Marshall said.

Mr Marshall said the state's border arrangements with Victoria would not change.

The move comes as NSW recorded 10 new cases of locally-transmitted COVID-19 up to 8pm on Wednesday night.

Victoria recorded three new cases during the same period.

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Earlier on Thursday, Victorians were urged to return home from NSW as soon as possible.

Acting Premier Jacinta Allen said people should "strongly reconsider" any planned travel to the state.

"This is a quickly changing situation and we don't want you to be trapped in New South Wales," she said.

"If you are already in New South Wales, we want you to come home."

On Wednesday, Victoria announced anyone who has been in the NSW regions of the Blue Mountains and Wollongong since Sunday had to return by 11.59pm on December 31.

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SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said officers were already in place at border checkpoints.

Travellers returning to the state will need to demonstrate they met the criteria upon crossing the border.

"Don't think that you can manipulate the system by travelling backwards and forwards between NSW and South Australia claiming to be a returning resident every time: it is a one time deal," Commissioner Stevens said.

He said people travelling from Queensland to South Australia must follow the most direct route through NSW and not spend "unnecessary time" interstate.

SA Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier announced only two new cases from overseas travellers were in quarantine and had no connection to NSW.

She urged SA residents to follow safe social distancing guidelines and practice good hygiene for New Year's Eve celebrations.

Originally published as Midnight deadline to flee NSW