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Victoria to axe hotel quarantine for vaccinated Australian travellers within weeks

Victoria is set to scrap all quarantine requirements for Australian travellers within two weeks as millions prepare to depart from the world’s longest lockdown. 

International arrivals touching down in Victoria will no longer be required to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days or at home, as long as they are fully-vaccinated.

Hotel quarantine has been in place for all people arriving back into Australia since March 2020 when international borders closed to all but citizens and permanent residents, with strict arrival caps leaving many stranded overseas. 

Current quarantine requirements are likely to be axed on November 1, the same day NSW plans to similarly introduce quarantine-free travel for vaccinated Australians. 

Returning travellers must be fully vaccinated with two doses of a Covid vaccine and return a negative test once they have arrived. 

Victoria is set to scrap all quarantine requirements for vaccinated Aussie travellers within weeks as the state prepares to leave lockdown (pictured, Melburnians exercising)

International arrivals touching down in Victoria will no longer be required to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days or at home from as early as next month (pictured, Melbourne Airport)

International arrivals touching down in Victoria will no longer be required to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days or at home from as early as next month (pictured, Melbourne Airport)

The decision was made during a Cabinet meeting on Thursday night where attending ministers signed off on the plan. 

It comes after Victoria announced vaccinated NSW residents would be welcomed into the state without having to quarantine. 

From midnight on Wednesday, red zones that applied to Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong were officially scrapped. 

Locals from these areas can now enter Victoria on an orange zone permit, without any quarantine or testing necessary. 

Anyone who isn’t vaccinated requires a permit, must get tested within 72 hours and isolate until they receive a negative Covid-19 test result. 

Unfortunately, that would involve leaving Greater Sydney – something residents of the city and its surrounds are still banned from doing. 

From November 1, vaccinated Australians will be able to travel overseas from any state, however only NSW and Victoria will allow them back without quarantine. 

Fully vaccinated travellers from states where more than 80 per cent of people are double-jabbed will be allowed to travel abroad freely. 

Victoria is set to hit the 80 per cent milestone on the first week of November.  

Current quarantine requirements will likely be thrown out on November 1, the same day NSW plans to introduce quarantine-free travel for vaccinated Aussies (pictured, a return traveller)

Current quarantine requirements will likely be thrown out on November 1, the same day NSW plans to introduce quarantine-free travel for vaccinated Aussies (pictured, a return traveller)

Travellers touching down in Victoria must be fully vaccinated with two doses of a Covid vaccine and return a negative test to skip out on quarantine (pictured, Melbourne airport)

Travellers touching down in Victoria must be fully vaccinated with two doses of a Covid vaccine and return a negative test to skip out on quarantine (pictured, Melbourne airport)

VICTORIA FAST-TRACKS ROADMAP

Victoria’s lockdown will end at 11.59pm Thursday with a raft of eased restrictions.

* Reasons to leave home and curfew no longer in place

* 10 people including dependents can visit a home each day

* 15 people can gather outdoors

* Pubs, clubs and entertainment venues can open to 20 fully vaccinated people indoors and 50 fully vaccinated people outdoors

* Funerals and weddings allowed for 20 fully vaccinated indoors and 50 fully vaccinated outdoors

* All students to return to school at least part-time

* Hairdressing and beauty salons to open for up to five fully vaccinated people at a time.  

The remainder of regional NSW is now classified as green zones and vaccinated people from there will simply require a permit to enter Victoria.

Travellers coming into NSW from Victoria have to stay-at-home for 14 days but can leave home for essentials such as food, exercise, medical care or work or study if they can’t do that at home.

Victoria recorded its second-most new Covid cases ever on Thursday at 2,232 infections as residents wait out the final hours of their gruelling lockdown. 

With 70 per cent of Victorians now vaccinated, Melburnians will on Friday be allowed to freely travel within the metropolitan region. 

Mildura residents will also be released from lockdown at midnight on Thursday, a day earlier than planned. 

By then lockdown-weary residents will have spent 262 days under stay-at-home orders since the pandemic hit – surpassing that experienced by Argentinians. 

On Thursday, Mr Andrews put out a tweet congratulating Victorians on reaching the 70 per cent vaccination target.

‘Because of everything Victorians have done, tomorrow we can start getting back to the things we love. Thank you Victoria – I’m so proud,’ he wrote.  

The state recorded 12 Covid-related deaths just hours before residents are set to get their first taste of freedom. 

Under the new rules, people will be able to leave their homes for any reason and travel anywhere within metropolitan Melbourne. 

'Because of everything Victorians have done, tomorrow we can start getting back to the things we love. Thank you Victoria - I'm so proud,' Daniel Andrews (pictured) tweeted on Thursday

‘Because of everything Victorians have done, tomorrow we can start getting back to the things we love. Thank you Victoria – I’m so proud,’ Daniel Andrews (pictured) tweeted on Thursday 

Victoria recorded 12 Covid-related deaths just hours before residents are set to get their first taste of freedom on Friday (pictured, a lone man walking in Melbourne)

Victoria recorded 12 Covid-related deaths just hours before residents are set to get their first taste of freedom on Friday (pictured, a lone man walking in Melbourne)

The curfew will be scrapped, home gatherings of up to 10 will be allowed, and hairdressers and hospitality businesses will reopen for the fully vaccinated.

However, in a last-minute change to reopening plans, all hospitality staff must be fully vaccinated to work.

This is despite online health directions stating authorised workers, including those in hospitality, must have one vaccine dose by October 22 and two by November 26. 

Australian Hotels Association Victoria chief executive Paddy O’Sullivan said the government had ‘moved the goalposts’ on the sector and has asked for a grace period to allow staff time to get vaccinated.

But Victoria’s Covid-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said ‘there is no wriggle room’ on the mandate.

With some pubs in the city to reopen at midnight, staff at hospitality venues will be allowed to go into work after the curfew kicks in at 9pm to get their venues ready, but patrons will need to wait until 11:59pm to leave home.

Fully vaccinated NSW residents have been able to enter Victoria without having to quarantine from Wednesday (pictured, hotel quarantine workers in Melbourne)

Fully vaccinated NSW residents have been able to enter Victoria without having to quarantine from Wednesday (pictured, hotel quarantine workers in Melbourne)

From Friday, the dreaded curfew will be scrapped, home gatherings of up to 10 will be allowed, and hairdressers and hospitality will reopen (pictured, pedestrians in Melbourne)

From Friday, the dreaded curfew will be scrapped, home gatherings of up to 10 will be allowed, and hairdressers and hospitality will reopen (pictured, pedestrians in Melbourne)

Deputy Premier James Merlino said he was grateful and proud of the sacrifices Victorians had made to save lives.  

‘I hope everyone enjoys those first reunions with their families, the first football, netball, cricket training with the kids, the first drink at the pub,’ he said.  

Victoria is earmarked to reach its next vaccine milestone of 80 per cent double-dose within the next two weeks. 

Once this target has been hit restrictions will loosen further on travel and retail with trips between Melbourne and regional Victoria still off the cards until then. 

‘We are not connecting Melbourne to regional Victoria yet. It isn’t far away,’ Mr Merlino said. 

‘You are able to travel around from midnight tonight, you can travel around Melbourne, but we still have that restriction in terms of travelling to regional Victoria.’

BREAK-DOWN OF MELBOURNE’S 263 DAYS OF LOCKDOWNS:

Lockdown one

– Statewide, March 30 to May 12, 2020, 43 days

Lockdown two

– Ten Melbourne postcodes, July 1 to July 8, 2020, seven days (not counted in the overall citywide figure)

– Melbourne, July 8 to October 27, 2020, 112 days

Lockdown three

– Statewide, February 12 to February 17, 2021, five days

Lockdown four

– Melbourne, May 27 to June 10, 2021, 14 days

Lockdown five

– Statewide, July 15 to July 27, 2021, 12 days

Lockdown six

– Melbourne, August 5 and October 21, 77 days (not including four hours on August 5 when lockdown started) 

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