Victoria is easing its COVID-19 border restrictions with NSW and the ACT, opening the door for more stranded residents to return home.

From midnight on Wednesday, red zone areas in NSW and the ACT – mainly regional places not in lockdown – will be downgraded to orange zones.

The change will allow both residents and non-residents to enter Victoria as long as they take a test within 72 hours of arrival and wait for a negative result before leaving isolation.

Extreme risk zone classifications for locked down areas, including Greater Sydney, will also be revised to a red rating, meaning Victorians can return if they isolate at home for 14 days.

Health Minister Martin Foley said authorities were confident enough to make the changes given the improving outlook in NSW.

It comes as Victoria on Wednesday reported 1420 new locally acquired cases and 11 deaths, the most fatalities of the state’s third wave.

The latest deaths, which bring the toll from the current outbreak to 68, are six women aged in their 60s to 90s and five men aged in their 50s to 80s.

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Reflecting on the losses, Premier Daniel Andrews reinforced the need for Victorians to get vaccinated to better protect themselves and their families.

“This is a deadly virus. Get vaccinated and if you can’t get vaccinated today, make an appointment,” he said.

Some 36,542 vaccinations were administered at state-run sites, with 54 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over now having received both doses.

Of the 25,000 total cases since mid-July, COVID commander Jeroen Weimar said 84 per cent were unvaccinated.

There are 525 Victorian are in hospital battling the virus, with 94 in intensive care and 53 of them on a ventilator. Six per cent of those in hospital are fully vaccinated.

 

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AAP