NSW to go slow on Victoria border reopening

New South Wales government ministers will meet tomorrow to discuss the timing of any move to re-open the border with Victoria. Some ministers have indicated that they are concerned about the robustness of Victoria’s contact tracing system and first want to see how the state handles any new COVID-19 outbreaks after lockdown restrictions are eased:

Despite pushing for the border with Queensland to reopen, the Berejiklian government is taking a “wait and see” approach to Victoria, concerned the slow re-opening is an indication that Daniel Andrews does not have full confidence in his state’s contact tracing…

Three [NSW Ministers] told The Australian they wanted to see how the Victorian Premier handled any new infections after Melbourne’s hard lockdown was lifted at midnight on Tuesday.

It was a view backed by NSW Health, they said…

Mr Andrews on Monday said he would speak with the NSW Premier about the border, but warned it was possible regional Victorians would be allowed to travel north before Melbourne residents were.

A superficial examination of the data suggests that NSW should move quickly to reopen the border with Victoria (including Melbourne).

Melbourne’s 14-day average infection rate has plummeted to only 2.8, whereas regional Victoria’s is only 0.2:

Victoria has recorded two consecutive days of zero infection and is now preforming in-line with NSW:

And Victoria’s active case count has fallen to only 87:

That said, I cannot blame NSW for waiting to see before opening its border to Melbourne residents.

There are still big question marks over the efficacy of Victoria’s contact tracing system and it is yet to be tested under non-lockdown conditions. Thus, waiting a few weeks to see how it responds to future outbreaks is a wise move.

In any event, Melburnians are barred from visiting regional Victoria until 8 November. By then NSW should have a good idea about whether Victoria’s contact tracing system is ‘match fit’ and the border between the two states can be reopened.

I’m tipping a mid-November opening date.

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