Travel between Victoria and the ACT is set to be permitted for fully vaccinated people from November 1, in line with arrangements in NSW.
ACT chief minister Andrew Barr on Friday confirmed the territory would follow NSW’s lead.
Barr had previously flagged plans to have consistent travel arrangements with NSW from November but high case numbers in Victoria had raised questions about the ACT’s approach to the state.
“The chief health officer indicated we would align with the NSW decision,” Barr said. “I can absolutely confirm November 1 is the date.”
It came as Melbourne emerged from lockdown on Friday morning but Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton said there was more COVID in the state than “at any other point in time”.
Melbourne has endured 263 days cumulative days in lockdown during the pandemic, and Friday’s easing spells an end to broad lockdowns after the state reached its 70% double-dose target on Thursday.
The state is also on track to hit its 80% double-dose mark next weekend, premier Daniel Andrews said on Friday.
Fully vaccinated international travellers returning to Victoria will not have to quarantine in hotels from November 1 as long as they undertake testing within 24 hours of arrival into Victoria.
“This is a freedom that we haven’t been able to enjoy for a long time,” Andrews said.
But he urged people to be patient with hospitality staff as vaccinated people return to venues from Friday, and spare a thought for health staff as cases rise.
“It is going to be difficult in the coming weeks and months, but there is simply no choice, Victorians have done what we ask of them,” Andrews said.
He said he hoped there would be “as few rules as possible” for Christmas but flagged booster shots would be important to ensure the efficacy of the vaccinations continued.
QLD premier Annastacia Palszczuk appeared in Logan on Friday in a bid to lift low vaccination rates in the local government area.
“I have a very clear message for ppl who are living in Marsden and Crestmead – your vaccination rates are not where I want them to be. At the moment they are 54.7%, so they are trailing the state average,” Palszczuk said.
“You have a second dose of only 36% .. this means your community is exposed.”