Australia Coronavirus: Border businesses decry closure as new COVID-19 cases.
Albury-Wodonga has recorded three new cases of COVID-19 within hours of state and federal governments announcing plans to close the NSW-Victoria border the two regional cities straddle in a bid to stem the spread of the virus.
Yet Wodonga’s mayor remains resolute that residents should be allowed to continue to travel between the two states despite the new cases, with the closure due to take effect at midnight on Tuesday.
On Monday evening Cr Anna Speedie said she was yet to receive official confirmation of any additional cases but was aware that at least one additional Wodonga case had been recorded. Meanwhile, testing over the border in Albury had revealed two positive cases, the NSW health department confirmed.
The two Albury cases returned positive results on preliminary testing and were being further investigated. The patients’ close contacts were being identified and placed in isolation, NSW Health said. One suspected case had recently travelled to Melbourne, returning before harsher restrictions were introduced in hotspot suburbs.
Cr Speediesaid residents on either side of the border should be free to access local services, jobs and see family rather than be forced to stay on one side of the border.
While the new case was only the second in Wodonga and the first within three months in the area, Cr Speedie said the community had previously done well in observing isolation rules when required.
“People isolated and have done the right thing,” she said. “This community is good at making sure we’re looking after our own.”
Business owners in the area hit out at the Andrews government’s handling of the border closure, saying they weren’t consulted and are paying for a problem in Melbourne.
When commercial real estate agent Scott Mann heard about the closure, his first thought was to rush to Service NSW to get travel permits that would allow him and his employees to continue to cross the border.
Though he and his staff all live in Albury – on the NSW side of the border – his business, AW Commercial Real Estate, operates out of Wodonga, on the Victorian side.