Fully vaccinated travellers entering Victoria from New South Wales will no longer have to quarantine or get tested for Covid when they arrive.
Double-dosed travellers can skip testing and quarantine measures when entering Victoria from New South Wales after health authorities announced all red travel zones across the northern state will be downgraded from Wednesday.
Victorian health authorities confirmed all greater Sydney local government areas, including Blue Mountains, Wollongong and the Central Coast, will become orange zones, while areas previously deemed orange zones will be classed as green zones.
Broken Hill in New South Wales and Shepparton in Victoria will also rejoin the New South Wales-Victoria cross-border community area.
Red and orange zones in regional NSW government areas will become green zones.
The downgraded travel zones follow announcements made last week by the state government that fully vaccinated travellers who have received both doses of their Covid vaccines will no longer have to get tested or quarantine while awaiting results after arriving in Victoria.
Travellers from NSW will still be required to carry travel zone permits if they are coming from areas previously classed as red or orange zones, but red zone permit holders will be classed as orange zone permit holders when the changes come into effect.
PREMIER’S WARNING TO UNVAXXED VICTORIANS
Premier Daniel Andrews has warned there could be restrictions on people who are unvaccinated well into next year.
When asked if the state would consider having greater freedoms for the unvaccinated, in a similar way to NSW, Mr Andrews said he did not think so.
Restrictions for the unvaccinated in NSW are expected to ease on December 1, bringing them into line with vaccinated people.
“That doesn’t make any sense to me in any event and we won’t be doing that here,” he said.
“Why would you get the system going, have the thing up and running and then essentially pull down all of the architecture that you’ve built, the culture that you’ve changed — why would you change that four or five weeks later?
“For example, the Grand Prix is in April, I don’t think there will be crowds at the Grand Prix made up of people who have not been double dosed.
“Please don’t play the game of ‘let’s just wait this out and then we will be able to do everything we want to do’.
“No, that will not be the case. It will be a very long wait.”
Mr Andrews warned unvaccinated Victorians not to try to “wait out” the virus.
“I’m not going to say to someone: ‘Just wait us out, just wait for five weeks and then you will be able to go to the pub’,” he said.
“Know, if you make the judgement to not get vaccinated and you reckon you can wait (it) out … you won’t wait out the virus, because the virus will be here for a long time and your only protection against it as being vaccinated.
“This will be well into 2022.”
MOST HOSPITAL CASES NOT FULLY JABBED
Victoria has recorded new 1749 Covid cases and 11 deaths, just days before Melbourne’s lockdown is due to be lifted.
Premier Daniel Andrews has revealed at least 96 per cent of the 149 coronavirus patients in intensive care in Victoria were not fully vaccinated.
Mr Andrews said there were 784 Victorians in hospital with Covid-19, with 149 of those in intensive care and 100 patients on a ventilator.
Of the cases in hospital on Monday, 88 per cent were not fully vaccinated and of the cases in intensive care yesterday, 96 per cent were not fully vaccinated.
“They are statistics but they really are stories of individuals who are very, very unwell and one thing that they all have in common is that they have not been protected by two doses of any of the three vaccines that are available,” Mr Andrews said.
“Or, to put it another way, if you don’t want to finish up in hospital, then access one of those three vaccines.”
Meanwhile, of the 11 new deaths, two women and two men were in their 70s, four men were in their 80s, two men were in their 90s and one woman was in her 100s.
More than 68,700 tests were received on Monday, while state hubs administered 36,751 vaccine doses.
At least 66.7 per cent of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated, while the state is days away from hitting its 90 per cent single-dose milestone.
There are 22,476 active cases across the state.
WHERE TODAY’S CASES WERE FOUND
Health department deputy secretary Naomi Bromley has revealed where Victoria’s latest positive cases were found:
• 28 per cent were in the southeast suburbs of Melbourne, including 153 infections in Casey, the highest number of any area. There were also 132 cases in Greater Dandenong
• 28 per cent of new cases were in the city’s northern suburbs, including 145 infections in Hume and 135 in Whittlesea
• 30 per cent of the new cases were in the western suburbs, including 127 infections in Brimbank, 122 in Wyndham and 111 in Melton
• 5 per cent were in the eastern suburbs, including 21 in Manningham and 20 in Knox
• Regional Victoria recorded another 145 new cases, which Ms Bromley said had remained stable at about 8 per cent of the new cases each day. There are 1660 active cases in regional Victoria. There were 24 new cases in Latrobe on Tuesday, 18 in Greater Geelong, 18 in Baw Baw and 13 new cases in Wodonga. Mildura, which remains under lockdown, seemed to be stabilising, Ms Bromley said, with only six new cases.
DAN WHACKS UNVAXXED
Daniel Andrews has slammed unvaccinated Victorians, condemning them for putting pressure on the health system.
Authorities have consistently raised concerns about the strain the pandemic is placing on the health system, urging people to get vaccinated and avoid ending up in hospital.
“Why would anybody want to make the job of our nurses harder?” Mr Andrews said.
“The fact of the matter is that if you are unvaccinated by choice then you will make, one way or the other, either by getting ill and needing care or by contributing to the spread of the virus, and others getting ill, you will make the job of our nurses harder.”
BUSINESSES SLAM OUTDOOR TRADING
Melbourne businesses have laughed off an “impractical” push to get hairdressers and even beauty therapists trading outdoors.
Small Business Minister Jaala Pulford unveiled a series of grants – collectively worth $54.5m – to support businesses in setting up kerbside trading before the end of lockdown.
Hairdressers, beauty services, retail shops, dance studios and gyms will now be eligible to apply for vouchers, joining restaurants, cafes and bars in operating outdoors.
Australian Retailers Association chief Paul Zahra welcomed the scheme but said many businesses would not take up the offer.
“Limiting retail trade to the outdoors is impractical,” he said.
“We’re extremely disappointed that ‘non-essential’ or discretionary retailers can’t reopen earlier. These are businesses that operate indoors, in shopping centres or on high streets where it’s not workable to operate at the whim of the weather among other operational issues like fitting rooms to allow people to try clothes on.”
Sandy Chong, chief executive of the Australian Hairdressing Council, said it did not “make sense” to have hairdressers operating outdoors.
“You need to have basins that are available and ready to go,” she said.
“It’s really not worth the stress.”
Gry Tomte, who founded Melbourne-based HÜD Skin + Body clinic, laughed off suggestions that the sector could go alfresco.
“That would be just impossible,” she said.
“It’s absolutely impractical. I can just imagine Brazilian waxes being carried out on the side of the road.”
Ms Pulford said the arrangement was about giving people more options, but said she thought businesses would continue to embrace outdoor trading even after vaccination targets were achieved.
“I imagine there’s probably some hair and beauty services that people wouldn’t mind having done in a marquee, and others that they’d probably prefer to do somewhere private,” she said.
“There’s a lot of thinking going on about what outdoors is going to be like, and how we can be more outdoors than we’ve been before.”
While hairdressing and personal care can open to five fully vaccinated customers from Friday, there are calls to expand indoor density limits and reopen the entire sector early.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the government should match the NSW roadmap, which allowed indoor retail to reopen at 70 per cent.
It will reopen in Victoria at 80 per cent.
Meanwhile, almost 88.5 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over have had at least one vaccination, while 66.7 per cent are now fully vaccinated.
Melbourne’s inner suburbs are lagging, and just 76.4 per cent of people aged over 15 have had one vaccination.
Victoria recorded 1903 local cases and seven more deaths on Monday.
CONTROLLER HIT IN TESTING CENTRE CRASH
Police have labelled a man “positively stupid” after he struck a traffic controller with his car at a Covid-19 testing station in Melbourne’s southeast.
Police were called to the Thompson Rd site in Cranbourne, which is set up inside an old retail building, following reports of the crash about 5.30pm on Monday.
Investigators were told a man driving a Subaru sedan was told to move his car forward when he took off at speed and hit a traffic controller.
The 32-year-old driver rear-ended a car in front, damaging three cars before he spun out and crashed into a car in an adjacent lane.
The controller, a 22-year-old from Mooroolbark, was taken to hospital with a suspected broken arm and other injuries.
The Lysterfield South driver underwent a preliminary breath test before attending a police station where he returned an evidentiary breath test result of 0.076.
Investigators are also awaiting the results of a blood test after the man returned a positive oral fluid test for drugs.
He is expected to be charged at a later date with numerous traffic offences.
WorkSafe are investigating the incident.
STATE TO OPEN RESPIRATORY CLINICS
Twenty new GP respiratory clinics will be fast-tracked in a desperate bid to reduce emergency department congestion and avoidable hospital visits.
The new clinics will carry out Covid-19 tests and treat more than 350 patients suffering respiratory symptoms each week.
The new clinics – which will be opened in three to six weeks under a $23.8m state government initiative – will be in Covid hot spots across Melbourne.
They will be in the Hume, Wyndham, Brimbank, Moreland, Darebin, Moonee Valley, Melbourne, Maribyrnong, Melton, Casey, Greater Dandenong, Monash, Kingston, Cardinia, Whittlesea, Banyule and Boroondara municipalities.
The free clinics will be staffed by trained and qualified clinicians, including doctors and nurses, and be open for 16 hours a day.
Health Minister Martin Foley said the increasing number of Covid-19 cases across Victoria highlighted the critical role of primary care. The clinics will receive establishment and operating grants to cover wages and running costs.