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Australia records 16 COVID-19 deaths as Scott Morrison pushes for easing of international travel requirements

Australia reported another 16 COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday.

Victoria reported 11 deaths and 10,471 new infections, taking the total number of active COVID-19 cases in the state to 53,224.
There are currently 243 COVID-19 patients in hospital in Victoria. Of those, 23 are in ICU and four are on ventilators.

Sixty-four per cent of people aged 18 and over in Victoria have now received three vaccine doses.

Meanwhile in NSW, the health department reported another five COVID-19 deaths, along with 24,115 new infections, up from 20,960 on Tuesday.

There are currently 1,162 patients in hospital and 44 in ICU.

The news comes as international travellers could soon have their pre-departure testing requirements removed after the prime minister flagged a further easing of restrictions.

Travellers currently need to show a negative COVID-19 test result in order to board a flight to Australia even if they are fully vaccinated.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the removal of pre-departure testing is an important milestone for Australia.

He said Health Minister Greg Hunt will be making an announcement on the matter soon.

“While we’re never complacent about the challenges COVID can present and new variants, we’re watching all of those closely as we keep looking through that windscreen,” he told reporters in Cairns on Tuesday.

“Hopefully we can continue to see COVID in the rear vision mirror.”

But a spokesperson for Mr Hunt says he is continuing to receive health advice before making further changes to Australia’s biosecurity measures.

The current biosecurity declaration is due to lapse on 17 April, aligning with international cruise ships returning to Australian waters for the first time since March 2020.