Victorians stuck in Brisbane since their state designated the area a “red zone” are now able to come home since the risk rating has been downgraded.
The Victorian border to anyone in Brisbane, Moreton Bay, the Redlands, Logan and Ipswich has been shut for a week since a hotel quarantine worker and her partner tested positive for the highly infectious UK strain of COVID-19.
But with a lack of local transmission since those cases were identified, Victorian health authorities’ anxieties have eased.
Returnees will need to apply for a travel permit, which they will receive automatically. They must also take a coronavirus test within three days of their arrival and self-quarantine until they receive a negative result.
The same process will apply for anyone travelling from Brisbane, whether or not they are from Victoria.
Victorians stranded in Sydney should be hopeful 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.
The premier said the government would be matching permit and testing data to ensure those who return from orange zones are tested as required.
Victoria on Saturday again recorded zero new locally acquired cases for the tenth consecutive day.
Meanwhile, 47 Australian Open players who have just arrived in Melbourne have been deemed close contacts of positive cases.
Virus testing of passengers on two chartered flights that arrived in Melbourne on Friday morning – from Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi – resulted in positive tests.
Ordinarily players would have been allowed out of their hotel quarantine rooms in COVID-safe bubbles to train ahead of the February 8 contest, but now they must stay put in line with standard quarantine rules.
The players will be given fitness training equipment in their hotel rooms.
Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka was on the LA flight along with American Sloane Stephens and Japanese star Kei Nishikori.