Victorians stuck in Brisbane will be able to return home from 6pm Saturday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.
The Victorian government will downgrade Brisbane to an orange zone from a red zone on Saturday evening, meaning Victorians will not need to apply for an exemption to return home.
The state recorded no new locally acquired cases of coronavirus on Saturday, marking its tenth day in a row without community transmission.
There were three cases among international arrivals in hotel quarantine.
More than 14,900 tests were completed on Friday.
There are 26 active cases of COVID-19 across the state.
The decision comes after the Victorian government defended its decision to push ahead with the Australian Open at the same time as 8000 Victorians are stranded interstate, and many more overseas.
Health Minister Martin Foley said he did not want to risk another outbreak in Victoria.
“But I make no apology for the principle of keeping Victoria safe and keeping Victoria open.”
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 isolate until they receive a negative result.
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.
Elsewhere, Western Australia’s border will be adjusted on Monday, with Victoria set to become a “low-risk” state.
Travel from Victoria into WA will be permitted as long as travellers complete a G2G PASS declaration, self-quarantine for 14 days and get tested on the 11th day.