Jetstar passengers having their body temperature checked by NSW Health at Ballina Byron Gateway Airport on July 3.
Jetstar passengers having their body temperature checked by NSW Health at Ballina Byron Gateway Airport on July 3.

Returning residents prohibited from landing locally

NORTHERN Rivers residents coming back from Victoria will be required to fly to Sydney, following an amendment to COVID-19 Public Health Orders which came into effect on yesterday.

The amendment means that NSW residents returning from Victoria will only be allowed to re-enter NSW through Sydney Airport, unless they live within the NSW border regions.

Following a NSW Police Force request, a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) has been issued, which prohibits passengers from Victoria without a valid permit or exemption from landing at any regional NSW airport.

The NSW Police Force has also launched an expansion of the multi-agency hotel quarantine operation, to now include NSW residents returning from Victoria.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard issued an amendment to the Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order 2020 under section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010, which directs NSW residents returning from Victoria to go directly to a quarantine facility run by either NSW Police Force or NSW Health.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said there was no doubt the hotel quarantine operation had been one of the state's most effective tools in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

"The professional management of this operation has dramatically reduced the risk of COVID-19 spread within the community, and our officers will continue to do everything in their power to ensure that record is maintained going forward," Commissioner Fuller said.

"NSW residents returning from Victoria will now also be required to enter either a NSW Police or NSW Health-managed hotel.

"Our officers have been working hard over the past few days to facilitate the expansion of this operation, and I want to assure the community of NSW these additional measures are now well and truly in place.

"Make no mistake - mandatory hotel quarantine has undoubtedly saved many lives, particularly among our vulnerable community members, and will continue to do so as we navigate this public health threat."

The Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) provides police with the power to enforce Public Health Orders. It is an offence for a person to fail to comply with an order, and severe penalties apply, which include a maximum penalty of up to $11,000 and/or six months imprisonment for individuals.