Quarantine scrapped in Vic for travellers

Victoria is joining NSW in dropping quarantine from November 1 for fully vaccinated travellers.
Victoria is joining NSW in dropping quarantine from November 1 for fully vaccinated travellers.

Victoria is scrapping quarantine for fully vaccinated travellers arriving from overseas, bringing the state into line with NSW.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday confirmed international arrivals will no longer need to quarantine either at home or in hotels if they are fully vaccinated and test negative to COVID-19 in the 72 hours before their flight and then 24 hours after arrival.

There will also no longer be a cap on fully vaccinated returning Australians wishing to enter Victoria.

The changes will come into effect on November 1, the same day as NSW.

"No hotel quarantine, no iso - you'll be able to go about your business," Mr Andrews told reporters.

"And the reason for that is that at 80 per cent, 90 per cent (fully vaccinated) - which is where we're going to get to - we are as protected as we can be."

International arrivals will need to demonstrate their vaccination status with a vaccine approved or recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which includes AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer, as well as others used overseas such as Johnson & Johnson and Sinovac

Children aged under 12 arriving with fully vaccinated parents, and people with a valid medical exemption will also not be required to quarantine.

Unvaccinated people and international arrivals who do not meet the new entry criteria will be capped at 250 per week and will need to quarantine at a hotel for 14 days.

The cabin-style quarantine facility at Mickleham will be used for the same purpose when it opens in January 2021, with the hotel quarantine program reduced to "just a handful of hotels".

The Victoria Tourism Industry Council said the announcement was a "game-changer" for the tourism industry and Australians stranded overseas.

"Victoria has taken a big, bold step today in announcing to the world that we're opening our state to international visitors," CEO Felicia Mariani said in a statement.

"This move will super-charge the recovery of our sector, giving us an edge in the competition for inbound arrivals."

She said pre-pandemic 40 per cent of visitor-spend in Melbourne was derived from overseas travellers, with each daily international service flying into the city worth $100-$130 million to the Victorian economy.

Mr Andrews said he had been in discussions with Qantas to ensure the airline would bring forward the restart of a range of international flights to Melbourne, as it has in NSW.

"I'm pretty sure they'll have some exciting announcements to make about Melbourne too," he said.

Singapore Airlines announced it will open sales on Friday night for 14 weekly flights between Singapore and Melbourne to support the return of more Australians

"We look forward to reconnecting families and loved ones over the coming weeks and months ahead, and continuing to support all levels of government in their efforts to reopen Australia's borders in a safe, scalable and sustainable way," their regional vice president Louis Arul said in a statement.

Australian Associated Press