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Victorians marooned in Queensland by strict border rules can breathe a sigh of relief with restrictions set to be downgraded from 11.59pm Saturday, just in time for the end of the school holidays.
The state’s COVID-free streak continued on Saturday, with no new local coronavirus cases recorded for the tenth consecutive day. Three new cases were recorded in hotel quarantine.
Victorians returning from holiday in Brisbane will no longer have to quarantine for 14 days under the new travel permit changes. Credit:Getty Images
Brisbane, Moreton Bay and regions of the Sunshine Coast will be downgraded from “red zones” to “orange zones” at 11.59pm on Saturday, meaning Victorians in those areas can return home without needing to quarantine for 14 days.
Instead, they’ll have to get an orange zone permit, get tested for coronavirus within 72 hours of arriving in Victoria, and isolate until they return a negative result.
The same will go for Queenslanders coming to Victoria from those local government areas.
The Department of Health will be contacting Victorians who have recently returned home from red zones to advise them that they are now considered orange zone arrivals, and no longer have to quarantine once they test negative to coronavirus.
Other areas in Queensland including the Gold Coast, Townsville, Palm Island, Ipswich, Logan, Noosa, Scenic Rim, Lockyer Valley, Redland and Somerset will change from orange zones to “green zones” at 11.59pm on Saturday.
People coming into Victoria from green zones only need to obtain a permit.
The Perth and Peel regions in Western Australia will also be downgraded from orange zones to green zones at 11.59pm on Saturday, as will Alice Springs and Greater Darwin in the Northern Territory.
The travel changes were announced by the Victorian Department of Health on Twitter on Friday evening.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer is yet to make an announcement about the travel restrictions that apply to NSW, with all of Greater Sydney still declared a red zone and the rest of NSW declared an orange zone.
The state recorded 44 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, including 27 people who were infectious in the community.
Victorian authorities have flagged that not only will the existing Greater Sydney red zone not be downgraded anytime soon – they are actively considering shutting the border to travellers from all of NSW.
Health Minister Martin Foley said on Thursday that his government was growing increasingly concerned about the potential of COVID-19 leaking out of Sydney into regional NSW.
“We’re concerned that the situation is clearly not heading in the direction that all Australians want NSW to be. The risk grows, and the threat grows,” Mr Foley said.
“Having worked so hard to get to this level that we had in Victoria, we do not need Victorians entering and coming back from NSW, so please do not travel to NSW from Victoria.”
Mr Foley has stressed that his public health team monitor the situation in NSW every day, and that as soon as there is any change to the travel restrictions surrounding the state, Victorians will know.
Nearly 23,300 coronavirus test results were processed in Victoria in the past 24 hours, and nearly 16,100 people received their vaccine doses.
With Sumeyya Ilanbey
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