Victoria has recorded a second straight days of new local cases of coronavirus just hours after shutting its door to Greater Sydney.
Wednesday marks the seventh consecutive day the state has recorded either zero or one new local case, while the number of exposure sites has dropped to 96.
The announcement comes after the state government slammed its border shut to Sydney's five million residents starting at 1am on Wednesday.
The southern state has branded the City of Sydney and six other suburbs as 'red zones', meaning travel across the border is banned.
Those who have been to one of the 'red zones' and live in Victoria must self-isolate immediately for 14 days.
Victoria has slammed its border shut to millions living in Sydney starting at 1am on Wednesday. Pictured: Cars line up for Covid-19 testing at Bondi in Sydney, Tuesday, June 22, 2021
The state has branded the City of Sydney and six other suburbs as 'red zones', meaning travel across the border is banned (Melbourne as seen from St Kilda Beach on Tuesday)
The six Sydney areas declared red zones
The Chief Health Officer has declared the following NSW Local Government Areas (LGAs) as red zones under Victoria’s travel permit system, effective at 1:00am June 23:
- City of Sydney
- Canada Bay
- Inner West
The decision announced late on Tuesday came after NSW recorded 10 new locally-acquired Covid cases, bringing Sydney's growing Bondi cluster to 21 active infections.
Of the 10 new infections announced in NSW today, one of them remains a mystery.
A student at Saint Charles' Primary School in Waverley, Sydney's east, returned a positive result but contact tracers are still scrambling to find out where she may have contracted the virus.
The current outbreak hitting Sydney is particularly hard to trace because it is the highly infectious Delta variant which originated in India.
'Literally people not even physically touching each other but fleetingly coming into the same airspace has seen the virus transfer from one person to another,' Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
'That's how contagious it is.'
Under the Andrews government's traffic light system, any Victorian resident who has been in an area declared a red zone must obtain a permit to re-enter the state and will be required to undergo 14 days of home quarantine.
Non Victorian residents coming from a red zone are banned all together - but some exceptions can be made if a person has only transited through a red zone.
The call to shut the border was made after NSW recorded 10 new locally-acquired Covid cases, bringing Sydney's growing cluster to 21 active infections. Pictured: NSW health officials stop passengers arriving from Melbourne at Sydney's domestic airport on May 26, 2021
The eastern suburbs Covid cluster has now jumped to 21 cases. Pictured: Commuters are seen boarding a bus at Bondi Beach on June 21, 2021
Anyone who enters Victoria without a permit 'will be sent back,' health bosses warned.
'If you enter at an airport or seaport from a red zone without a permit, you will be fined and will stay in hotel quarantine until return transport is arranged.'
Wollongong, south of Sydney, has been declared an orange zone, meaning travellers who have been there in the past 14 days must obtain a permit prior to taking off, isolate on arrival, get tested, and stay isolated until they get a negative result.
Moments before the red zone declarations were announced New Zealand put a halt to quarantine-free travel from NSW, giving Kiwis just three hours to get back home before restrictions come into place at 10pm (AEST).
It came as NSW Health issued an urgent alert for a busy Qantas flight after a passenger infected with Covid enjoyed a weekend away in New Zealand.
Earlier on Tuesday night it was revealed the infected Australian hopped on flight QF163 from Sydney to Wellington that arrived at 12.12am on June 18.
They returned to Sydney on Air New Zealand flight NZ247 at 10.13am on June 21 - just a day before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern slammed the nation's borders shut.
Pictured: NSW Police officers check cars crossing from Victoria into New South Wales (NSW) at a Covid border check point in the NSW-Victoria border town of Albury, NSW, Wednesday, July 8, 2020
NSW health authorities were already on edge after Covid fragments were found in sewage from 15 suburbs where 22,500 Sydneysiders live and as even more venues are added to the city's swelling exposure list.
Five new venues were declared exposure sites in the city, including Wallabies Thai Restaurant and Mascot Central Shopping Precinct in Mascot.
The ANZ bank in Martin Place was also added, along with two more shops in Bondi Junction - Chanel fragrance and beauty on level four of the shopping centre, and Starbucks on level 2.
The eastern suburbs shopping mall has been at the heart of Sydney's latest outbreak, which swelled to 21 on Tuesday.
Routine wastewater testing discovered Covid-19 particles at the Lough Park Sewage Network Investigation Site, in the city's eastern suburbs.
The catchment area includes Clovelly, Waverly, Randwick, Centennial Park, Queens Park, Bondi, Bondi Junction, Bellevue Hill, Double Bay and Woolhara.
Traces of the virus were also found in the Brooklyn Sewage Treatment Plant, which collects wastewater from Dangar Island, Cowan, Brooklyn, Mooney Mooney and Cheerio Point, north of Sydney.
More to come