News State Victoria News International flights, hotel quarantine program to restart in Victoria

International flights, hotel quarantine program to restart in Victoria

International flights are set to return to Victoria in the next fortnight. Photo: AAP
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Victoria’s hotel quarantine program is to resume for a second time, with stricter protocols to be introduced to ensure COVID-19 doesn’t leak into the community.

The state government on Thursday announced the resumption of international travel, with Victoria to take 800 passengers a week from April 8 before increasing to 1,120 people, once all ventilation assessments in hotels are completed.

Three hotels are ready to take passengers, while there is work to improve ventilation in other hotels.

NSW is taking almost half of Australia’s arrivals, at 3010 people a week.

The state’s hotel quarantine program will recommence with more stringent procedures to ensure COVID-19 doesn’t leak into the community.

Quarantine hotels are expected to remain the primary accommodation for returned travellers.

The Victorian government is going ahead with plans to build a purpose-built quarantine facility outside the Melbourne. It will be at least six months before it will be available for use.

International passenger flights have not arrived in Melbourne since February 13, after hotel quarantine workers contracted the highly infectious British strain of the virus from returned travellers at the Holiday Inn near Melbourne Airport.

The outbreak, which grew to 24 cases, triggered Victoria’s five-day snap lockdown.

It also led to the commission of reviews into variant strains of COVID-19 and ventilation at the state’s quarantine hotels, which have now been completed.

The state’s second wave of coronavirus, which resulted in more than 18,000 new infections and 800 deaths, also leaked from hotel quarantine.

At least 99 per cent of Victoria’s second wave cases can be traced back to security guards working at the Rydges on Swanston and Stamford Plaza hotels in May and June.

Flights were halted between July and mid-December before a new-look hotel quarantine program began.

Premier Daniel Andrews said it was the “strongest and safest” scheme in the country.

Also on Thursday, Victoria posted 27th consecutive day with no local coronavirus cases after 15,446 tests.

-with agencies