News Coronavirus No virus cases in Victoria, ahead of eased restrictions

No virus cases in Victoria, ahead of eased restrictions

victoria virus rules
Masks are back in Melbourne as two worrying virus clusters spread rapidly.
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Victoria has posted its first full week of no COVID-19 community transmission since its fourth lockdown, as the state awaits a decision on eased restrictions.

The health department on Wednesday tweeted there were zero new local cases and no new cases acquired overseas.

There were also 15,784 vaccine doses administered on Tuesday and 27,498 test results received.

An announcement on the state’s next step toward “COVID-normal” rules is expected on Wednesday morning.

Victorians have had steady virus rules for a fortnight, including mandatory indoor masks and a 75 per cent office workplace cap.

Business groups have lobbied for both measures to be scrapped, encouraging more workers to return to the Melbourne CBD.

Earlier this week, acting chief health officer Dan O’Brien described masks as a “safety blanket” but said the public health team would review the mandate.

Larger crowds at sports stadiums and theatres are also on the cards after planned capacity increases were delayed last week due to unfolding outbreaks across the country.

On Tuesday, Sports Minister Martin Pakula said he hoped to see thousands of fans at Saturday’s AFL clash between Carlton and Geelong.

It would be a welcome boost for Victoria’s struggling major events industry after the state government confirmed the cancellation of this year’s Australian Grand Prix and MotoGP.

Mr Pakula said last week’s national cabinet decision to halve international returned travellers and lagging community vaccination rates made it unfeasible to host both events in 2021.

He is confident those issues will be alleviated by 2022, allowing the Australian Open and Formula One race to go ahead in Melbourne.

Victorian authorities also remain concerned about outbreaks interstate. They have threatened to shut the border to red zone returnees if they continue to go walkabout.

Of 231 home compliance checks conducted on Monday, three Victorians who had returned from interstate hotspots were found not isolating as required.

The state’s COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said it was “hugely frustrating” and warned Victoria might have to suspend its red zone permit system.

“We need you to isolate for those 14 days and to work with us to keep the rest of the community safe,” he said on Tuesday.

“Because otherwise we won’t have any choice but to not allow people to come back home, and that’s the last thing we want to do.”

-with AAP