Victoria to relax border restrictions with NSW
FULLY vaccinated people from NSW will be allowed to enter Victoria without quarantining from next week, as the southern state recorded 2,179 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths.
Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed from 11.59pm on October 19, fully vaccinated people from areas considered ‘red zones’ in NSW will be able to return to Victoria without the need to quarantine for 14 days.
Instead, they will need a negative test result 72 hours before arriving in Victoria and another negative test result 72 hours after their entry in the state.
Unvaccinated people will need a negative test 72 hours before arriving in Victoria and will be required to quarantine at home for 14 days.
Rules will be easier for fully vaccinated people arriving from ‘orange zones’, who will no longer be required to get tested and isolate and will only need a valid permit.
Those who are unvaccinated will still be required to test and isolate before a negative result.
Mr Foley said the changes, made on the advice of the chief health officer, come as Victoria approaches its vaccination targets, with 88 per cent of people aged over 16 having had one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 63 per cent getting both doses.
Friday’s daily tally is a slight drop on the record 2,297 infections on Thursday and brings the number of active cases in the state to 21,324.
The six deaths, three men and two women aged in their 80s and a woman in her 50s, pushed up the toll from the existing outbreak to 131.
Meanwhile, a vaccine mandate has come into effect for more than 1.25 million authorised workers in the state.
From today (Friday, October 15), Victorians permitted to work on-site must show proof they have had their first vaccination, or a booking within the next week, in order to keep working. They must then be fully vaccinated by November 26.
When the mandate was announced, most authorised workers in the state had already been partially vaccinated but it was estimated hundreds of thousands had not.
The public health order covers retail workers, personal trainers, journalists, faith leaders, judges, police, lawyers, actors, professional sportspeople and many other professions.
Tim Piper, the Victorian head of the peak employer association Ai Group, said “V-Day” was creating huge issues and some businesses were contacting it to report workers were refusing to get vaccinated.
“The workers have often been in their jobs many years, they may be key people in the business,” Mr Piper said.
“Skilled and experienced employees are at a premium and some businesses are at their wits’ end trying to decide what to do.”
He reminded employers they must send the staff home if they don’t comply with the order, and employees are not entitled to be paid unless they agree to take any accrued annual leave or long service leave.
Premier Daniel Andrews has said he made no apology for his government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates across specific industries and the entire authorised workforce.
“These mandates, these requirements, push people to do what needs to be done,” he told reporters yesterday (Thursday, October 14).
A motion to ban unvaccinated state MPs and staff from entering parliament, an Australian-first and in line with the authorised worker mandate, also passed on yThursday.
Victoria is on track to reach its 70 per cent double vaccination target ahead of the indicative date of October 26, triggering the end of Melbourne’s long-running sixth lockdown.