News Coronavirus Victoria’s 28-day milestone as it eyes first COVID vaccines

Victoria’s 28-day milestone as it eyes first COVID vaccines

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Victoria has reached 28 days without a new local coronavirus case.

Health authorities say 28 days with no new infections means the virus has been eliminated from the community, given that period represents two 14-day incubation periods.

But as state Health Minister Martin Foley announced details of the state’s coronavirus vaccination program on Wednesday morning, he warned against complacency despite the good news on local cases.

“This virus has a long way to go,” Mr Foley said.

Chief health officer Brett Sutton also hailed the 28-day milestone.

“Effective elimination, again,” he wrote on Twitter.

“How good to see another day of no community transmission.”

Victoria’s landmark comes just days before crowds of up to 30,000 are expected at the Australian Open, which begins on Monday (February 8).

The state has 21 active virus cases, all returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

There were also no new quarantine cases to midnight on Tuesday, with 16,142 test results.

Elsewhere, NSW notched up its 17th day in a row without local infections of the virus. It had two new cases in hotel quarantine.

NSW has 49 active coronavirus infections, none of them in intensive care.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state was in “a positive position”. She flagged a further winding back of virus restrictions if the run of zero days continued.

Victoria previously had more than a month without any local cases late in 2020. The streak ended when the Black Rock cluster broke out before Christmas.

Also on Wednesday, the state outlined the first stages of its part in the national vaccination program, once a jab becomes available.

Priority will be given to high-risk people at nine suburban and regional health services, such as frontline healthcare staff and hotel quarantine workers.

Staff and residents in aged care and disability care will also be in the Phase 1a rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Victoria.

The first doses of the vaccine are expected from the middle of February, with two doses provided at least three weeks apart.

“We’re in the hands of the Commonwealth when the program starts,” Mr Foley said.

Victoria will have public hospital vaccination hubs at Western Health, Austin Health, Monash Health, Barwon Health, Goulburn Valley Health, Latrobe Health, Bendigo, Ballarat and Albury-Wodonga.

-with AAP