News Coronavirus Victoria shrugs off masks, other rules as it hits virus milestone
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Victoria shrugs off masks, other rules as it hits virus milestone

victoria mask virus
Face masks on public transport? Yes. But they will no longer be mandatory in many other Victorian settings. Photo: Getty
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Victoria has eliminated coronavirus after going four weeks without a new locally transmitted case.

The Health Department confirmed the milestone on Friday, following 13,800 tests.

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

It came as restrictions were set to significantly ease from 6pm on Friday.

Victorians will be able to have 100 visitors at home, up from the previous cap of 30, while public gatherings can double from 100 to 200.

Masks will no longer be required in shops or supermarkets, though Victorians will still need to wear them on public transport, in taxis and ride-share vehicles and in aged care facilities and hospitals.

Density limits will be eased at casinos, nightclubs and karaoke venues from one person per four square metres to one person per two square metres, bringing the venues into line with cafes, pubs and restaurants.

The 50-person cap on dance floors will also be scrapped.

Offices will be able to increase their capacity from 75 per cent to 100 per cent, though a density limit of one person per two square metres will still apply.

International flights will return to the state from April 8.

Overseas flights haven’t arrived in Melbourne since February 13 after hotel quarantine workers contracted the British strain of the virus from travellers at the Holiday Inn near Melbourne Airport.

The outbreak, which grew to 24 cases, triggered a five-day lockdown.

The state’s active cases dropped to zero on Tuesday, for the first time since December 10, 2020.

State Health Minister Martin Foley said while the easing of restrictions reflected the hard work by Victorians to get to this point, the virus remained a significant threat.

“This is still a long way to go … we’ve got to continue to make sure that we support the vaccination program, and when the opportunity comes to be vaccinated, take it,” he said.

Mr Foley also deflected questions about whether crowds at live music venues could be lifted, saying there are ongoing national discussions about what was safe.

-AAP