The decision is welcome news for Australian travelers hoping for a tropical Christmas getaway.
In an interview with ABC yesterday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed that Victorians will be free to enter Australia’s Sunshine State without needing to quarantine starting on Tuesday (December 1), after going 28 days without any community transmission of the virus from an unknown source. “Can I congratulate [Victorian Premier] Daniel Andrews, their Chief Health Officer and all Victorians because this is just such fantastic news,” Palaszczuk told reporters at the time.
This follows a similar announcement made by Palaszczuk a day earlier that Queensland would reopen its borders to Greater Sydney on December 1, now that it had met the same criterion and was no longer a declared Covid-19 hotspot. Road checkpoints are to be removed along the Queensland–New South Wales border and airlines have been rushing to add more services to their schedules. Qantas and Jetstar will be operating more than 1,200 additional return flights into Queensland from New South Wales and Victoria between December 1 and Christmas Day.
Victoria reached a significant milestone on Monday with the recovery of the last remaining coronavirus case left in the state, a man in his 90s who was discharged from hospital, marking the end of the state’s second wave of Covid-19 infections. Australia’s hardest-hit state now has zero active cases for the first time in more than eight months, and international arrivals into Melbourne are set to resume on December 7 in tandem with a relaunched hotel quarantine program.
Internal border controls are being relaxed across eastern Australia; New South Wales reopened for travelers from Victoria on Monday, and Tasmania will do the same starting tomorrow, while South Australia is due to welcome Victorians on December 1. However, Western Australia is still requiring those coming from Victoria and New South Wales to self-isolate for 14 days, a rule it may not repeal by Christmas. A question mark remains over the status of South Australia, where a single cluster of 29 coronavirus cases has been traced to two security guards and a cleaner at the same quarantine hotel in metropolitan Adelaide. So far, 4,300 people have been quarantined as a precaution.