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Border restrictions are easing across Australia as New South Wales breaks COVID-free streak

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Victorians stuck in Brisbane will be able to return home from 6pm Saturday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.

Victoria on Saturday again recorded zero new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, the tenth day in a row that it has done so.

The Victorian government will downgrade Brisbane to an orange zone from a red zone on Saturday evening, meaning Victorians will not need to apply for an exemption to return home.

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Returnees will need to apply for a travel permit, which they will receive automatically. They must also take a coronavirus test within three days of their arrival and isolate until they receive a negative result.

The Victorian government is no longer intensely anxious about the COVID-19 leak from hotel quarantine in Brisbane, as the infection appears to have spread no further than a cleaner and her partner.

“From our point of view, there is sufficient stability that we can safely have those Victorians in Brisbane return home,” Mr Andrews said.

The same process will apply for anyone travelling from Brisbane, whether or not they live in Victoria.

It comes as New South Wales recorded one new local coronavirus case, breaking a two-day streak of zero local infections.

Victorians stranded in Sydney should be hopeful that they will be able to return home soon as well, with Mr Andrews flagging on Saturday that he was preparing to dramatically reduce the red zone in NSW.

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“I do hope to be able to make announcements very similar to what we’ve just announced with Brisbane in the next couple of days. But, again, it has to be based on advice,” Mr Andrews said.

Chief Health officer Brett Sutton said the trend in Sydney was good.

“There are clearly some local government areas within Greater Sydney that have now gone a number of days of cases without transmission. I will look very intensively at the epidemiology across greater Sydney over the next couple of days,” he told reporters.

The announcement will come in the next day or two, Mr Andrews said.

Mr Andrews said the government would be matching permit and testing data to ensure those who return from orange zones are tested as required.

Meanwhile, from 12.01am on Sunday, travellers from Greater Brisbane will be able to enter South Australia without needing to quarantine but must be tested for the virus on days one, five and 12 of their stay.

Western Australia will remove its hard border with Victorians at 12.01am on Monday.

Victorians will be able to travel into WA without exemption, but must self-isolate for 14 days and get tested for COVID-19.

WA’s hard border remains for anyone who has been in New South Wales and Queensland.

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People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSWVictoriaQueenslandWestern AustraliaSouth AustraliaNorthern TerritoryACTTasmania.

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