Victorians stuck in Brisbane are preparing to return home after the state government downgraded its COVID-19 risk assessment of the region.
Brisbane, Moreton Bay, the Redlands, Logan and Ipswich will change from a “red zone” to an “orange zone” fro 6pm on Saturday, meaning Victorians will not need to apply for an exemption to return home.
Returnees will need to apply for a travel permit, which they will receive automatically. They must also take a COVID-19 test within three days of their arrival and self-quarantine until they receive a negative result.
Victoria on Saturday again recorded zero new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, the tenth day in a row that it has done so.
The Victorian government is no longer intensely anxious about the COVID-19 leak from hotel quarantine in Brisbane, as the infection appears to have spread no further than a cleaner and her partner.
“From our point of view, there is sufficient stability that we can safely have those Victorians in Brisbane return home,” Mr Andrews said.
The same process will apply for anyone travelling from Brisbane, whether or not they live in Victoria.
Victorians stranded in Sydney should be hopeful that they will be able to return home soon as well, with Mr Andrews flagging on Saturday that he was preparing to dramatically reduce the red zone in NSW.
“I do hope to be able to make announcements very similar to what we’ve just announced with Brisbane in the next couple of days. But, again, it has to be based on advice,” Mr Andrews said.
Chief Health officer Brett Sutton said the trend in Sydney was good.
“There are clearly some local government areas within Greater Sydney that have now gone a number of days of cases without transmission. I will look very intensively at the epidemiology across greater Sydney over the next couple of days,” he told reporters.
The announcement will come in the next day or two, Mr Andrews said.
Mr Andrews said the government would be matching permit and testing data to ensure those who return from orange zones are tested as required.
NSW records one local COVID-19 case
It comes as New South Wales recorded one new local coronavirus case, breaking a two-day streak of zero local infections.
Investigations into the source of infection for the western Sydney man continue but it’s most likely linked to the Berala bottle shop cluster, NSW Health said.
People who attended a medical centre at the same time as Sydney’s newest COVID-19 patient are now being urged to self-isolate.
All people who were in the dental, physio and imaging waiting room of the Wentworthville Medical and Dental Clinic between 11.30am and 1.15pm on Friday are now considered close contacts.
“(They) must immediately get tested and self-isolate for 14 days regardless of the result,” NSW Health said on Saturday afternoon.
“Anyone who was in other areas of the clinic at that time should monitor for symptoms and immediately isolate and get tested if they appear.”
Border restrictions set to ease across the country
Meanwhile, from 12.01am on Sunday, travellers from Greater Brisbane will be able to enter South Australia without needing to quarantine but must be tested for the virus on days one, five and 12 of their stay.
Western Australia will remove its hard border with Victorians at 12.01am on Monday.
Victorians will be able to travel into WA without exemption, but must self-isolate for 14 days and get tested for COVID-19.
WA’s hard border remains for anyone who has been in New South Wales and Queensland.
People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits.
If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.
Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, ACT, Tasmania.