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Victoria has recorded 1,841 new Covid cases and 12 deaths just two days before the state finally exists its sixth lockdown.
Melbourne has been in lockdown since August 6, though regional Victoria was released several weeks ago other than a few towns with outbreaks.
Wednesday’s new cases were diagnosed form 78,928 tests on Tuesday and 38,881 vaccine doses were administered at state-run facilities.
A border checkpoint near Donnybrook, Victoria. NSW residents who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can now travel to Victoria without needing to quarantine
The new cases come ahead of Victoria’s home isolation trial for international travellers from next week as Australia begins to dismantle its hotel quarantine program.
Passengers flying into Melbourne from London on a special flight on October 27 will isolate at home for seven days rather than be locked in a hotel room for a fortnight.
As cases fall drastically in NSW, Victoria will also now allow residents who are fully vaccinated to enter the state without needing to quarantine.
Relaxed requirements now apply to vaccinated travellers who have been in red or orange zones and the border bubble has been reinstated for Broken Hill and Shepparton.
From midnight, Victoria scrapped red zones that applied to Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong so locals can now enter Victoria on an orange zone permit, without any quarantine or testing.
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.
The remainder of regional NSW is now classified as green zones and vaccinated people from there will simply require a permit to enter Victoria.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Victoria has scrapped red zones that applied to Greater Sydney areas so anyone who has been in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong can now enter Victoria on an orange zone permit
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.
Meanwhile, in NSW 92.3 per cent of eligible people 16 and older have had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 81.6 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated.
Chief health officer Kerry Chant 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.
The number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 has dropped, with 589 in hospital including 128 in intensive care and 69 on ventilators.
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.
A masked pedestrian at Albert Park Lake in Melbourne on October 12. Travellers coming into NSW from Victoria have to stay at home for 14 days but can leave home for essentials such as food, exercise
Pictured: A jogger at Albert Park Lake in Melbourne. The remainder of regional NSW is now classified as green zones and vaccinated people from there will simply require a permit to enter Victoria
‘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.
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.
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.