International flights will return to Melbourne from April 8, following intensive reviews of Victoria's hotel quarantine system

Daniel Pockett/Getty Images
  • Melbourne Airport will accept international flights from April 8, nearly two months after a COVID-19 outbreak linked to a hotel quarantine site led Victoria to bar overseas arrivals.
  • Some 800 passengers will be accepted per week, building up to 1,120 per week as the state assesses the ventilation systems at designated hotel quarantine sites.
  • The announcement comes after independent reviews into Victoria’s hotel quarantine system.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Melbourne will resume accepting international flights from April 8, nearly two months after a coronavirus outbreak linked to a hotel quarantine site led the Victorian Government to suspend overseas arrivals.

Victoria will set an initial arrivals cap of 800 people per week, building up to 1,120 per week, as the state ensures the safety of ventilation systems in designated quarantine hotels.

Those upgrades follow independent reviews of the ventilation of each relevant site, after aerosol transmission was suspected as the cause of coronavirus escaping the Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn quarantine hotel, sparking the flight suspension and a state-wide, five-day lockdown.

The results of that report will be shared with other jurisdictions.

Separate reviews investigated the safety processes undertaken by hotel quarantine staff, and the impact of new and highly infectious COVID-19 variations.

“The challenges of this virus will be with us for some time to come,” Acting Premier James Merlino said in a statement.

“That’s why we’ve listened to the advice of experts and made the necessary changes to ensure we’re keeping Victorians safe.”

In addition to the new focus on hotel ventilation, hotel quarantine residents will soon be COVID-tested four times over their 14-day stay, instead of twice.

Looking past April and towards the full reopening of Australia’s international borders, the Victorian Government now says ten sites have been shortlisted for the state’s custom-built quarantine facility.

In February, Premier Daniel Andrews said the state was assessing sites near Tullamarine and Avalon for the new facility.

The shortlist should be whittled down to one option by the end of the month, Merlino said.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.