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Covid border restrictions across Australia: where you can and can’t travel between states – and to New Zealand

·7-min read
<span>Photograph: Loren Elliott/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Loren Elliott/Reuters

The latest Covid outbreak in Australia has once again resulted in state border closures, restrictions and cancelled plans.

State and territory health authorities are monitoring the cases and the situation is changing daily. Here is a state-by-state breakdown of where you can and can’t travel and what you need to do before you leave home.

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NSW border restrictions

Sydneysiders are unable to travel to regional NSW. That remains the case until at least 28 August..

People are barred from leaving the city, except for essential purposes, subject to the lockdown rules, and no one is allowed to travel in to greater Sydney without a reasonable excuse.

Interstate arrivals to NSW from Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, including people who have been in those states for any time during the previous 14 days, need to complete a travel declaration upon entry.

Anyone who has been to a venue of high concern (listed here) must follow testing and self isolation requirements.

Victoria border restrictions

All travellers from anywhere in Australia must apply for a permit to enter Victoria, except people living within the border bubble regions of NSW and SA.

The rules on entering Victoria from the border bubble area of NSW tightened from 11.59pm on 3 August, so that people from NSW may only enter Victoria without a permit to obtain necessary goods or services, including medical care and getting a Covid-19 test; for care and compassion reasons; for education including childcare; for getting a Covid vaccination; and for sport and exercise at a sporting club, including alpine resorts.

People from Victoria can also enter NSW for those reasons and not need a permit to return, but in both cases people can only travel as far as is “reasonably necessary” into the other state. Fines for travelling into Victoria without a permit, or in breach of the border bubble restrictions, are $5,452.

Travel from elsewhere in NSW to Victoria is not permitted, even for Victorian residents, unless you have been granted an exemption or are travelling on a specified worker permit or a transit permit. From 23 July, all of NSW has been labelled an ‘extreme risk zone’.

The ACT and the locked down areas of southeast Queensland, including Brisbane, are ‘red zones’. Victorian residents are able to return home from these areas but will be required to quarantine for 14 days. Non-Victorian residents will only be allowed to travel if they are granted an exemption or are on a specified worker or transit permit. The rest of Queensland is a green zone.

South Australia is now classed as an orange zone.

Anyone travelling from an orange zone must get tested within 72 hours of arrival and remain in self-quarantine until they get a negative result.

Queensland border restrictions

The Queensland government has extended border restrictions to all of NSW except for local government areas along the Queensland border.

Victoria and South Australia are also declared hotspot zones.

People who live in or have visited these areas are barred from entering the state, unless they are granted a special exemption.

If you are a Queensland resident returning from these areas, you will need to quarantine at a hotel for 14 days at your own expense.

If you are not a Queensland resident, and you have been to these areas, you need to apply for an exemption, and if that is granted, you will need to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days at your own expense.

Everyone needs to complete a travel declaration form up to three days prior to arrival to enter the state.

As of 2 July, no areas of the NT or of WA were declared Covid-19 hotspots by the Queensland government so travel is permitted, if a travel declaration form is signed.

NSW border zone residents are also required to complete a travel declaration to enter Queensland.

Western Australia border restrictions

Border restrictions with NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland have been reinstated, meaning no one who has been in any of those states in the past 14 days is allowed to enter, without an exemption.

Restrictions are in place for people coming from the ACT, which means anyone entering from those states or territories must go through 14 days’ quarantine and be tested.

Tasmania, the Northern Territory and New Zealand are deemed ‘very low risk’ by the WA government and do not have any quarantine requirements. Arrivals will still have to complete the mandatory G2G pass registration and declaration, as well as completing a health screening on arrival.

Australian Capital Territory border restrictions

The ACT has tightened its border restrictions in response to the Covid situation in NSW and Queensland.

Non-ACT residents entering from locked down areas of Queensland or NSWwill not be allowed to enter unless they have an exemption, which will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

Returning ACT residents will need to complete an online exemption form prior to their travel, and will still need to quarantine at home for 14 days.

Anyone travelling from South Australia and Victoria is required to complete an online declaration form within 24 hours prior to arriving in the ACT and to monitor for symptoms for 14 days after they were last in Victoria or SA.

Anyone arriving from any state or territory must check the close contact and casual contact exposure locations (listed here). Anyone who has visited a close contact exposure location cannot enter the ACT without an exemption. Anyone who has visited a casual contact location must complete a self-declaration form, and isolate until a negative test result.

Travellers from all other states and jurisdictions can travel freely to the ACT.

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South Australia border restrictions

South Australia has closed its border with Victoria, NSW, the ACT and some parts of Queensland.

All arrivals from NSW, including returning South Australian residents, are not allowed to enter SA – unless they are an essential traveller or have an exemption.

For NSW, a 100km buffer zone is in place to allow people living near the border, including in Broken Hill, to travel into SA.

All non-SA residents who have been in Victoria in the previous 14 days are barred from entering SA, excepting those in the 40km border buffer zone.

Restrictions on arrivals from greater Brisbane have been reintroduced. From Friday 16 July all travellers who have been in greater Brisbane in the past 14 days are barred from entering.

There are no restrictions on people from Tasmania, or other parts of Queensland.

Northern Territory border restrictions

All interstate arrivals to the Northern Territory must fill in a border entry form.

The NT has declared all of NSW and the locked down areas of Brisbane and southeast Queensland to be Covid-19 hotspots. Anyone who has been in a hotspot area in the past 14 days who travels to the Territory must undergo 14 days of mandatory supervised quarantine at Howard Springs.

Border restrictions have been lifted for Victoria and South Australia. But anyone who has been at a public exposure state in any other state must get a Covid-19 test and quarantine in a suitable place for 14 days.

Travellers from greater Melbourne no longer need to go into quarantine.

Tasmania border restrictions

No one from NSW may enter Tasmania unless they have special permission from the deputy state controller. The whole state has been declared a high risk zone.

Tasmanian residents who have been in the locked down areas of Brisbane and south-east Queensland can apply for an essential traveller permit to return to Tasmania and complete 14-days quarantine on arrival.

No one who has been at a declared high risk premises during a public exposure period, in any state, is allowed to travel to Tasmania. This includes Tasmanian residents.

Other than people who have been at high risk premises, Tasmania is open to travellers from Victoria, South Australia, the ACT, WA, the NT, New Zealand, and parts of Queensland.

New Zealand travel bubble

The NZ government has announced it will stop quarantine-free travel with Australia for two months.

New Zealand had already paused the travel bubble with NSW and Victoria, but the new shut down will apply to all of Australia for eight weeks from midnight Friday, 23 July.

Travellers to New Zealand must not have been in NSW on or after 10.30pm on 26 June or in Victoria after 1.59am (NZT) on Friday, 16 July.

  • Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is being regularly updated to ensure that it reflects the current situation at the date of publication. Any significant corrections made to this or previous versions of the article will be footnoted in line with Guardian editorial policy.

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