Two probable coronavirus cases are being investigated in the Albury area as NSW prepares to close its border with Victoria over the COVID-19 outbreak in parts of Melbourne.
NSW Health on Monday evening said the two cases had returned positive results on preliminary testing in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.
The department on Tuesday said the two cases were undergoing further testing but had not yet been included in the state's confirmed case load.
One suspected case had recently been to Melbourne but returned before hotspot travel restrictions came into force.
NSW Health is setting up a pop-up clinic in Albury from Tuesday and is urging residents in the area with even mild symptoms to get tested.
NSW reported seven new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday from 9746 tests, including a man who tested negative in hotel quarantine before returning home to Newcastle on Sunday and developing respiratory symptoms. He and his close contacts have been placed into isolation.
The other six cases were in travellers in hotel quarantine.
It comes ahead of Wednesday's NSW-Victoria border closure, which was agreed to by the state's premiers and the prime minister.
There are 55 NSW-Victoria border crossings over more than 1000 kilometres.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian had repeatedly criticised interstate travel restrictions as a handbrake on economic recovery and insisted she wouldn't agree to border closures with neighbouring states.
She has also declared a shut Victorian border would harm Albury-Wodonga, with some 50,000 car movements between the border towns each day.
But Ms Berejiklian said the rate of COVID-19 community transmission in parts of Melbourne gave NSW health officials no choice but to close the border.
"To this point, the vast majority of cases around the nation have been from overseas travellers or direct contacts. What is happening in Victoria is a multiplication based on community transmission," Ms Berejiklian told the Seven Network on Tuesday.
"That is what really concerns us and that is what made us take that difficult decision."
Ms Berejiklian added that the border would not reopen until community transmission in Melbourne had dropped to a sustainable level.
An exemption program will be established for essential border crossings - such as for medical care - but it was not open for applications as of Wednesday morning.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard also this week announced that hotspot travel restrictions would be extended to include residents from Greater Melbourne from Tuesday.
Victoria on Monday had recorded an additional 127 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths.
The Australian Defence Force will help NSW Police in what Ms Berejiklian has labelled the "mammoth task" of border enforcement, with between 350 and 500 personnel dispatched to help fortify the closed border.
The troops will support police operations without directly involving themselves in law enforcement activity, according to the ADF.
Meanwhile, NSW residents who return from anywhere in Victoria will from Wednesday be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days.
Australian Associated Press
Australian Associated Press
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