The establishment of a new border region including Deniliquin and district is being described a win for common sense.
Eligible residents in the defined border region will be exempt from the NSW Government’s latest measure at controlling the spread of the virus, which mandates that all people returning to NSW from Victoria pass through Sydney Airport.
Only those with a specific permit will be allowed to bypass the Sydney stop, and the self-funded city hotel quarantine requirement.
Permits are still required for all border crossings, and conditions relating to self isolation on return still apply regardless of whether you live in the declared border region.
Only those with an eligible health permit are exempt from isolating, unless otherwise stated on your permit.
Deniliquin Local Health Advisory Committee chair Lourene Liebenberg said Friday’s introduction of the border region has created some confusion.
She said people mistakenly believe it means Deniliquin is part of the previously announced ‘border bubble’ and able to travel more freely.
She said the border region actually tightens the conditions for travel again, and requires all those with existing permits to reapply.
The Sydney exemption only applies to those with critical service permits, which include: movement of freight on a commercial basis; movement of persons on a commercial basis; medical, hospital, dental or veterinary care; Commonwealth defence and security services; mining, agriculture, construction, energy or manufacturing; environmental cleaning and disinfection in a workplace or other non-residential premises to prevent the spread of Coronavirus on a commercial basis that is not available locally.
‘‘The most important thing here is that this category of permits has been reduced and tightened, and there is absolutely no doubt that self isolation needs to happen when you are not working,’’ Mrs Liebenberg said.
‘‘There are a whole lot of different requirements in regards to obtaining a critical services permit, with accompanying documentation needed, and this is made clear when people apply for these permits.
‘‘I would say one of our biggest risks in Deni has been people applying for these permits, getting them and abusing them, and/or not understanding the self isolation rules that are a condition of these permits.’’
Mrs Liebenberg said the new announcement also changes the application process for cross border health permits.
‘‘Getting this permit now requires a declaration on a specific form being filled out by your medical practitioner,’’ she said.
‘‘It must state, among other things, that this service is not available locally or by remote access, that it is necessary to treat or maintain health and the service cannot reasonably be delayed.’’
‘‘This declaration is to be filled out by the doctor who is referring the patient, and the form needs to be carried with the permit at all times.
‘‘We are not in the border zone bubble that allows shopping in Echuca, so we must go straight to the appointment and back again without stopping anywhere else for shopping, coffee, meals and anything else.
‘‘As part of the border region rules, unless the treatment was in Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, self isolation upon return is not required.’’
Postcodes included in the border region include 2710 (including Deniliquin, Mathoura, Mayrung, Wakool, Wanganella), 2711 (Hay), 2712 (Berrigan), 2713 (Blighty and Finley) and 2714 (Tocumwal).
Cross border permits are issued by Service NSW.