In alarming echoes of the very early days of the Covid pandemic, widespread state border restrictions are now throwing grey nomad travel plans into chaos.
With community transmission of the highly contagious Delta Strain now a reality in multiple states and territories, authorities are racing to contain the spread.
It’s left long-term travellers facing more uncertainty than they have known since the dark days of last March and April.
This continues to be an ever-evolving situation but here is a quick summary of the current restrictions around the current position:
New South Wales remains the epicentre of the latest outbreak. Greater Sydney is on Day 4 of a 14-day lockdown. The state has also introduced new travel rules for anyone arriving from the Northern Territory, Queensland or Western Australia. Anyone travelling to NSW who has been in those areas in the previous 14 days must complete a declaration form — the same requirement already in place for people who have been in Victoria in the previous 14 days. People subject to the stay-at-home measures in the NT, Queensland, and WA should not be travelling to NSW. Victoria has classified the 11 Queensland Local Government Areas (LGAs) which are subject to a three-day snap lockdown — spanning from the Gold Coast to Townsville — as red zones. The Perth and Peel regions are also red zones, along with Darwin, and large parts of NSW. A red zone classification means people are banned from entering Victoria unless they are Victorian residents who are willing to quarantine for 14 days. All arrivals into Victoria must apply for a travel permit even if they are entering from a green zone. More than 200 officers have been deployed to the border to prevent anyone unlawfully entering Victoria.
Large parts of Queensland entered a three-day lockdown at 6pm last night. The areas under lockdown include South East Queensland, Townsville city, Palm Island and Magnetic Island. The state has also declared Great Sydney, Darwin, and Perth and Peel as hotspots. Anyone who has been to a hotspot in the last 14 days — or since they were identified as a hotspot — will not be allowed to enter Queensland unless they are a state resident or they have an exemption. If they are allowed to enter the state, they must go into 14-day hotel quarantine.
South Australia has just identified four new Covid cases. The state has tough travel restrictions in place for every state except Tasmania. A hard border is now in place with NSW, the ACT, NT, WA and Queensland.
In the Northern Territory, the Darwin, Palmerston and Litchfield are in a 72-hour lockdown, and it has just been announced that Alice Springs will enter a 72-hour lockdown from 1pm today. The Territory has declared that anyone coming from a declared hotspots must do mandatory supervised quarantine for 14 days. Declared hotspots include Greater Sydney, Perth and Peel, and the Queensland lockdown areas. All visitors must complete a border entry form.
Western Australia has reinstated its hard border with Queensland. A hard border has also been introduced with NSW. Restrictions are in place for people coming from Victoria, the NT and the ACT, which means anyone entering from those states or territories must go through 14 days’ quarantine and be tested. Perth and Peel is currently in a four-day lockdown.
Tasmania, which to date has avoided community Covid transmission, has designated the Perth and Peel regions as ‘high risk’ areas, as well as the Queensland areas subject to lockdown restrictions. All those who have been in high-risk areas won’t be able to travel to Tasmania without an exemption. Most NSW residents are restricted from entering Tasmania unless approved as an essential traveller, and the state has also closed its borders to Greater Darwin. Tasmania has introduced a hard border with most of Greater Sydney.