'Absolute joke': Overnight border drama

 

People trying to apply for a COVID-19 border entry permit into New South Wales have reported the government website "keeps crashing" and went down after its launch on Tuesday night. 

Some users were able to click on a red button labelled "Apply Online", which disappeared and reappeared throughout the night, while others were told: "This transaction is not available at this time. Try again later."

In a statement to news.com.au on Tuesday night, a Service NSW spokesman said the application system was live "and experiencing high levels of demand".

"We are aware that some people have experienced delays in securing a permit and we apologise for the delay.

"In the interim, travellers will be able to demonstrate their eligibility to cross the border to police by carrying relevant documentation based on a category of exemption."

A person found in breach of the NSW COVID-19 border control public health order faces an $11,000 fine and up to six months in prison.

RELATED: Follow the latest coronavirus news

Australia has recorded a total 8566 cases of COVID-19, with 3244 in New South Wales, 2824 in Victoria, 1068 in Queensland, 443 in South Australia, 621 in Western Australia, 228 in Tasmania, 108 in the Australian Capital Territory and 30 in the Northern Territory.

Australia's coronavirus death toll is 106. 

Influencer vows to fight fee for escaping quarantine

A social influencer who was given a $1000 fine by police for escaping hotel quarantine in Sydney has said she'll challenge the fee and just wanted some fresh air.

Podcaster Sarah Liberty, 39, arrived back in Australia from Paris last week and was forced to spend 14 days in quarantine. But she said the lack of a balcony in her room triggered her anxiety and she escaped.


On Tuesday she spoke to Ten News about her decision, saying "people calling me selfish, I think that's really unfair because they don't understand my character."

"I'm very respectful of other people's safety."


Current case situation in Australia

There were 199 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in the 24 hours to 9pm on Tuesday, according to the federal health department.

Of these, 191 were in Victoria - the highest daily total for the state since the pandemic began.

There were seven cases recorded in New South Wales including six returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

"The seventh case is a recently returned traveller who tested negative on day 10 of quarantine, but developed symptoms on his return home to Newcastle on Sunday, after being released from hotel quarantine," NSW Health said.

"He and his close contacts are in isolation."

Queensland recorded one new case of the coronavirus.

"A man in his thirties tested positive after recently returning from overseas," Queensland Health said.

"The man is in isolation and is being managed by Metro North Hospital and Health Service.

"At this time, it is not considered that the community have been exposed however Queensland Health will notify the community if any public health alerts are required."

The number of patients in hospital with the virus has risen to 39 nationwide including 10 people in intensive care. Nine of those are in Victoria.

At least 7455 of more than 8500 people to contract COVID-19 have recovered.

'A long time' before Aus borders open

While some of us have started holidaying at home or planning interstate trips, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has made it clear we won't be going overseas anytime soon.

Mr Frydenberg spoke to The Australian in an exclusive Q&A on Tuesday night.

"We would like to do things sooner than later with some international students and, obviously, that's going to depend on where we're managing the spike in cases here in Australia," he said.

"But I think it's a long time before the international borders are open, the risk is too great, and we're all very conscious of that so obviously targeted approaches are important."

Despite talk of a "travel bubble" with New Zealand or other countries that have few coronavirus cases, Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham last month warned travellers not to get their hopes up.

He said it is "more likely" Australians will be banned from overseas travel until 2021, unless under special exemptions for limited business travel and on compassionate grounds.

"I hope that we can look eventually at some of those countries who have similar successes in suppressing the spread of COVID to Australia and New Zealand, and in working … with those countries to find safe pathways to deal with essential business travel that helps to contribute to jobs across our economies,'' Mr Birmingham said.

"But I do, sadly, think that in terms of open tourist-related travel in or out of Australia, that remains quite some distance off, just because of the practicalities of the volumes that are involved and the need for us to first and foremost keep putting health first."

'Three classes of people' after permits

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told the ABC's 7.30 on Tuesday night he expects "three classes of people" to apply for a border pass.

"There are those who live in the border towns who will only have to fill out the permit once," he said.

"Local communities and police will be more than aware of what a local border community is and we've talked about Albury-Wodonga and there's many more.

"We know it's essential they cross daily for a range of reasons. Anyone from New South Wales who is returning needs a permit and they will need to go into 14 days home quarantine.

"Then you have those Victorians who may be essential workers who have to complete a permit. Unless you fit the health order you won't be allowed to cross the border."

Fines for those who 'falsify' permit info

According to the NSW public health order relating to the border closure, "no one can enter NSW from Victoria, unless they can meet exemption criteria" from 12.01am on Wednesday, July 8.

"Fines apply to those who breach Public Health Orders, or who falsify information when applying for exemptions," NSW Police said in a statement on Tuesday night.

"A large-scale police operation will be in place to ensure compliance with the Public Health Order, with officers assisted by personnel from the Australian Defence Force, and other government agencies.

"As those with exemptions begin to pass through checkpoints, police are asking people to come prepared and ready to produce relevant documents and identification information; such as drivers' licences, and medical certificates. Those without exemptions will be turned back.

"It is anticipated that the first 72 hours will be challenging while the process is in its infancy. Police are asking those who don't need to cross the border to avoid doing so."

Border pass site 'crashing' for applicants

People trying to apply for a COVID-19 border entry permit into New South Wales have reported the government website "keeps crashing" and went down after its launch on Tuesday night.

Some users were able to click on a red button labelled "Apply Online", which disappeared and reappeared throughout the night, while others were told: "This transaction is not available at this time. Try again later."

It went live around 7.30pm with a number of problems reported in the 20 to 40 minutes that followed.

One woman took to Twitter after her computer screen displayed a message on the site reading: "Sorry, we were unable to process your request".

In a statement to news.com.au on Tuesday night, a Service NSW spokesman said the application system was live "and experiencing high levels of demand".

"We are aware that some people have experienced delays in securing a permit and we apologise for the delay.

"In the interim, travellers will be able to demonstrate their eligibility to cross the border to police by carrying relevant documentation based on a category of exemption."

Originally published as 'Absolute joke': Overnight border drama



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