Border restrictions have been bilaterally lifted overnight between NSW and Victoria, allowing “free travel” between the country’s two most populous states, in light of strong vaccination rates in both states.
In a joint statement, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced late on Thursday that from 11:59pm on Thursday evening, both NSW and Victoria would ease their border restrictions and once again allow free movement between the states.
It’s the first time that free movement between NSW and Victoria has been allowed since early July, when both states imposed restrictions on movement in light of Delta outbreaks and lockdowns.
Travellers from NSW will still need to apply for a permit in order to enter Victoria, however all of NSW and ACT has now been downgraded from an “orange zone” to a “green zone”, meaning they are no longer required to test or quarantine upon arrival.
Also, there are no longer any restrictions on fully vaccinated Victorians entering NSW, however unvaccinated people above the age of 16 will still not be able to enter the state without a valid reason.
The news comes in light of both NSW and Victoria’s high vaccination rates. Currently, 93.8 per cent of people over 16 years of age in NSW have received at least their first dose of the COVID vaccine, while 89.1 per cent are fully vaccinated.
In Victoria, 92.7 per cent of people aged 16 and over have received their first dose of the vaccine, and 82.5 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Speaking of the announcement, NSW Premier Perrottet said the decision to reopen borders in light of high vaccination rates is one that other states should follow.
“NSW is set to pass 90 per cent double dose vaccination in the near future, with Victoria not far behind, allowing family and friends to be reunited in the lead up to Christmas after many months of being separated,” Perrottet said.
“This milestone has only been made possible because people across NSW and Victoria have rolled up their sleeves and led the nation on the road back to normality thanks to our high vaccination rates.”
Meanwhile, Victorian Premier Andrews thanked Australians on both sides of the border for stepping up and getting vaccinated.
“Thanks to the incredibly hard work of Victorians and people in NSW getting vaccinated, we’re delighted to be able to have free travel between the two states once again,” Andrews said.
“Victoria and NSW have been through so much over the last few months, and we’re pleased that more families will now be able to reunite just in time for the Christmas and the holiday season.”
Further south, the Tasmanian government has also announced that from 15 December, fully vaccinated arrivals into Tasmania from low-risk states will no longer require a negative COVID PCR test before arrival.
Travellers from high-risk areas, including NSW, Victoria and ACT, will still be required to provide a negative result in the 72 hours prior to travel.
The news comes as Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein announced the state has seen 90 per cent of all Tasmanians aged 16 and over receive their first dose of the COVID vaccine and is on track to hit the 90 per cent two-dose target in early December.