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Almost 2800 applications for exemptions to enter Victoria from NSW have been made and just 57 have been granted, Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville has said.
It is unclear how many of the 2798 applications have been rejected or are yet to be processed.
Health authorities have told some returned travellers from NSW who are stuck in hotel quarantine that they may be able to quarantine at home.
A note slipped under the door of several people in hotel quarantine late on Monday night said the Department of Health and Human Services was starting a review to see if they could be let out early.
It is not clear how many people received the note.
“We recognise that hotel quarantine may be challenging for people with specific needs or medical requirements, for example, and that there may be situations where it is more appropriate for people to quarantine at home,” the note reads.
“As a person who has recently returned from NSW, your case will be reviewed in the coming days.”
The department says cases will be reviewed in the order in which they arrived from NSW. The review will take into account where they visited in NSW, their age, and any health or compassionate reasons.
Victoria recorded three new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, NSW recorded four. Yet Victoria's COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar has warned the border could remain close for the rest of the month.
Mr Weimar on Monday advised stranded Victorians that they should apply for an exemption as soon as possible if they need to make it home by the end of January.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday that he was hopeful border restrictions between Victoria and NSW could be eased soon, as both states appeared to be well on top of their COVID-19 outbreaks.
The Prime Minister said he had spoken to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday night “to see if we can get a better pathway for Victorians home as soon as possible”.
He told 3AW on Tuesday morning that wastewater testing in NSW had indicated the state’s regions – excluding greater Sydney – were COVID-free. He said he hoped people who had not visited hot zones would soon be allowed through Victoria’s hard border.
Victoria has imposed a hard border on anyone in NSW since midnight January 1 in response to that state’s outbreak.
“They are getting on top of this. The systems are working. We are making great progress in both. That should hopefully mean we can restore settings to where they were as soon as possible,” the Prime Minister said.
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