Victoria will loosen its border restrictions on people travelling from Greater Brisbane from 6pm on Saturday.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the region would be downgraded from a red to an orange zone after Queensland appeared to have contained the spread of the latest COVID-19 cluster, all cases of the UK mutant strain linked to the Grand Chancellor Hotel.
Mr Andrews said Victorians wanting to return home and visitors would be able to apply for a permit and then travel freely after they took a test within 72 hours of arriving and received a negative result.
The new permit system for all domestic travel, introduced earlier this week, is based on a traffic light system.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced Greater Brisbane’s “red zone” status would downgraded to allow Victorian residents to return home. Picture: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Travellers who visited “red zones” in the past 14 days are not permitted to enter the state unless they have an exemption.
“It is a condition of entry and it is a condition of staying safe and staying open. So we will boost our testing capacity, but again there will be queues, there will be lines, just like there is every single day,” Mr Andrews said.
He suggested plans to travel to Brisbane be postponed.
“This virus moves so fast, so rapidly and we have to follow the advice and be as risk-averse as we have been,” he said,
“We simply can’t allow outbreaks. We can’t do anything that would make it more likely that we finish up with community transmission.”
Chief health officer Brett Sutton said the situation in Greater Brisbane was “looking good”.
“There has really been no community transmission beyond the (Grand Chancellor Hotel) cleaner and her partner,” Professor Sutton told reporters on Saturday.
“There has been extensive testing of the many close contacts of those who had already left hotel quarantine.”
Prof Sutton said travellers who developed COVID-19 symptoms after receiving a negative result should be retested.
He added there was no change to borders restrictions with Greater Sydney because there were still cases of community transmission being recorded.
Mr Andrews said he was “hopeful” an announcement would be made in a couple of days and would be based on health advice.
Yesterday there were 0 new locally acquired cases reported and 3 new cases in hotel quarantine. Thanks to all who were tested – 14,957 results were received.
More later: https://t.co/lIUrl0ZEco #EveryTestHelps #StaySafeStayOpen #COVID19VicData pic.twitter.com/ErJ17I6lt6
Victoria recorded no new locally acquired cases for the tenth consecutive day on Saturday, but there were three new infections from overseas travellers who are hotel quarantine.
There are currently 26 active cases in the state.
Late on Friday, the WA government announced Victoria would be considered ‘low risk’ as of Monday, meaning people from the state will be able to enter without a special exemption but must still follow strict conditions including 14 days self-quarantine at a suitable premise.
Also on Friday, airline Emirates suddenly announced flights between Dubai and Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane would be suspended until further notice.
The last flight to Melbourne will be on Tuesday while the final flight from the city to Dubai will be the following day.
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