News Coronavirus Lucky 13: Victoria maintains streak of virus-free days
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Lucky 13: Victoria maintains streak of virus-free days

More good news for Victoria as it settles into a new 'COVID-normal'. Photo: AAP
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Victoria has notched up a baker’s dozen of virus-free days, posting its 13th day without new cases or fatalities on Thursday.

There are now just three active cases in the state, with just one case with an unknown source.

There were 20,819 tests in the last 24 hours and rolling statewide case average is just 0.1

As the state edges closer to a fortnight free of new infections, Melbourne has two hotspot alerts after an aged-care worker who flew to Adelaide tested positive for COVID-19.

Health Minister Martin Foley said the woman, in her 20s, is suspected of viral shedding.

She visited Melbourne Central before departing from Melbourne Airport on Monday.

Her infection is thought to be an old one, after she contracted and was cleared of the coronavirus in August.

However, she is being treated as infectious by health authorities while in hotel quarantine in South Australia.

Anyone who visited Melbourne Central last Sunday between 2pm and 5pm, or were at Melbourne Airport’s Terminal Four from noon to 1pm on Monday, are asked to get tested if symptoms develop.

Another two positive cases in Victoria are also likely to be viral shedding, but all three remain under investigation.

In yet another sign of the state’s virus gains, Tasmania said on Wednesday it would bring forward its planned reopening to Victoria by several days.

The island state was scheduled to drop its border restrictions with Victoria on December 1 but is now aiming for November 27.

Meanwhile, a fresh poll shows two-thirds of Victorians now believe the time is right for workers to return to COVID-safe offices.

The Roy Morgan survey, released on Wednesday, found 66 per cent of respondents thought office workers should be allowed back on-site, in line with cafe, pub and retail staff.

Unmoved by public opinion, Premier Daniel Andrews declined to set a date for the return of workers into presently deserted office buildings.

Victoria’s virus death toll remains at 819 and the national figure is 907.

Test call for northwest Sydney residents

In NSW, checks on hospitality venues are ramping up in the lead up to the festive season, as authorities are calling on residents of northwest Sydney to get tested.

More than 18,500 residents in northwest Sydney are being urged to get tested for COVID-19 after fragments of the virus were found at two sewerage pumping stations in the area.

NSW Health issued an alert late Wednesday calling for residents in North Kellyville, Rouse Hill, Box Hill, The Ponds, Kellyville Ridge, Parklea, Quakers Hill and Acacia Gardens to come forward.

“People who live and/or work in these areas must be aware of any symptoms of illness, and immediately isolate and get tested should even the mildest of symptoms appear that might appear to be just be a cold,” NSW Health said.

“After testing, you must remain in isolation until a negative result is received.”

It comes after NSW recorded its fourth consecutive coronavirus-free day, and as authorities vowed to crack down on venues not abiding by COVID-safe regulations.

Checks on hospitality venues are ramping up in the lead up to the festive season after almost 100 breaches were detected last Friday in the COVID hotspot of southwest Sydney.

Of the 74 hospitality venues inspected, 13 were not registered as COVID Safe, 39 did not have a safety plan, 20 had issues with record keeping, seven were not properly adhering to social distancing, two had hygiene issues and 13 had no COVID-19 safety marshal.

Inspectors were also on the prowl at pubs and clubs screening the second State of Origin rugby league game on Wednesday night, checking for COVID compliance.

Liquor & Gaming’s Dimitri Argeres announced the safety blitz after condemning “a complete disregard for social distancing” at Odyssey Bar Restaurant in Sydney’s inner west last month, which resulted in two $5000 fines for the venue.

Meanwhile, thousands of businesses across the state have been put on notice they have less than two weeks to electronically register their customers’ details.

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello says pen and paper will no longer cut it and QR codes will be mandatory from November 23, warning any business without the digital system will be fined.

“We can’t respond to a pandemic with paper. We must be fast and precise, and digital is the best way forward. There are no excuses,” he said on Wednesday.

“We have to move away from the walk-in culture to the check-in culture.”

Meanwhile, NSW Health said four COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in returned travellers in hotel quarantine, in the 20,586 tests undertaken in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday night – twice the number of tests done the previous day.

-with AAP