News Victoria opens NSW border, plans home quarantine for returning overseas travellers
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Victoria opens NSW border, plans home quarantine for returning overseas travellers

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Victoria has opened its borders to fully vaccinated people arriving from Sydney and is reportedly allowing some returning overseas travellers to quarantine at home.

An update released by Victoria’s chief health officer says there will be no more red zones in NSW from midnight Tuesday, with greater Sydney to become an orange zone.

Travellers from the greater Sydney region, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong, will still need an orange zone permit to enter Victoria.

People who are not fully vaccinated will have to isolate on arrival, get tested within 72 hours, and remain in isolation until they receive a negative result.

The rest of NSW will become a green zone, but travellers will still need a permit.

Broken Hill in NSW and Shepparton in Victoria will re-join the cross-border community area, meaning residents will not need permits to cross the state border.

The border between New South Wales and Victoria will reopen for fully vaccinated travellers who won’t need to quarantine. Photo: AAP

Buoyed by the borders opening and their state’s 81.6 per cent vaccination rate, NSW residents are rushing to book interstate holidays.

Virgin Australia said it recorded a 134 per cent increase in bookings.

There will also be more incentive to holiday, and spend, within the state.

The Perrottet government is reportedly preparing to announce that adults in NSW will get a $50 voucher to spend on accommodation.

The “Stay and Rediscover vouchers” anywhere in the state as part of a major tourism recovery package worth more than $500 million, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The major tourism announcement includes a program to attract more flights to Sydney airport and a marketing campaign to entice city-dwellers to road trip to the regions.

Another $25 million will be allocated to support festivals.

It comes as the International Monetary Fund predicted Australia will emerge from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the fastest-growing region in the world.

Despite successfully containing COVID-19 in 2020, some economies in the region, including Australia, faced setbacks from an initially slow vaccination rollout, the IMF says in its regional economic outlook.

The IMF cut its economic growth forecast for the Asia and the Pacific region by 1.1 percentage points for 2021, but it still expects “robust growth” in the the area – 6.5 per cent for next year.

“Asia-Pacific remains the fastest-growing region in the world,” IMF director Changyong Rhee says.

The report says Australia is benefiting from a commodities boom, confirming it expects the economy to grow by 3.5 per cent in 2021 and by 4.1 per cent in 2022, before moderating to 2.6 per cent in 2023.

  • Click here for more on the IMF’s predictions, or read on for the latest on the coronavirus cases in Victoria and NSW.

Victoria

Victorians are just two days away from freedom, with lockdown expected to end at midnight Thursday.

The state continues to inch closer to its 70 per cent vaccination reopening target, with 68 per cent of people over 16 now having both doses.

Now it appears that Victorians are a step closer to being able to holiday abroad and return home without having to spend thousands of dollars and 14 days locked in a hotel room.

The Age reports that the Andrews government has committed to trialling home quarantine for people returning from overseas.

Passengers booked on a special flight from London to Melbourne next week will isolate at home for seven days, the paper reports.

That follows an announcement on a similar pilot program in NSW.

Victoria reported a further 1749 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths on Tuesday.

The list of regional exposure sites has grown again, with two more locations identified late on Tuesday night.

They are:

  • Nude Food Breakfast Bar in Bendigo;
  • Donald Hotel in Donald.

Bendigo residents were warned about another five exposure sites earlier in the day when Traralgon East locals were also asked to isolate if they had been at a pole-dancing fitness studio at the time a positive case had been training at the venue.

NSW

NSW has 92.3 per cent of eligible people 16 and older with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 81.6 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated.

The state’s chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant has said passing 92 per cent was a “great achievement” but she wants to see the rates increase.

“I want to get 95 per cent or even above,” Dr Chant said on Tuesday.

She was pleased high testing rates were being maintained, with 90,597 tests in 24 hours.

The fall in the number of people in hospital and in intensive care was also a relief for staff who have been working in a system under stress for months.

“But it will not mean they have much of a breather – we also have business as usual,” Dr Chant said.

NSW recorded 273 locally acquired virus cases and four more deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday.

The number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 has dropped, with 589 in hospital including 128 in intensive care and 69 on ventilators.

NSW began the second stage of its roadmap out of lockdown on Monday after passing the 80 per cent fully vaccinated milestone.

Children in kindergarten, year one and 12 are back at school and other years return next week.

Restrictions have been eased in hospitality venues and up to 20 visitors are allowed in homes, while outdoor gatherings of up to 50 are allowed – but only for those who are fully vaccinated.

Vaccinated office workers are no longer required to wear masks, but masks are still required in other indoor areas, such as public transport or shops.

Fully vaccinated people returning to the office who maintain COVID-19 safe behaviour were “very unlikely” to become a close contact if a colleague became infected, Dr Chant said.

Less than two weeks after the first easing of restrictions, Dr Chant warned an expected rise in case numbers was yet to come.

“Let’s try to make sure that our ICUs have as few as possible people with COVID in them, as we open up over this Christmas-New Year period,” she said.

There have been 479 COVID-19 related deaths in NSW since the latest outbreak began on June 16, and 535 in total since the start of the global pandemic.

-with AAP