News Coronavirus Regional Victoria out of lockdown amid hope for state’s outbreak

Regional Victoria out of lockdown amid hope for state’s outbreak

Melbourne virus lockdown
Melburninas have been warned not to visit regional Victoria, despite the lockdown changes. Photo: AAP
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Regional Victoria will come out of the state’s sixth lockdown from Tuesday after authorities downgraded the danger of COVID infection outside Melbourne.

Victoria recorded 11 coronavirus cases to midnight Sunday, all of whom were known contacts of other cases.

There were no new cases in regional Victoria.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed that from 11.59pm Monday, the regions would return to the COVID-safe settings in place prior to the state’s sixth lockdown, meaning schools, retail and hospitality can reopen.

Home visits remain banned, while masks are still compulsory both indoors and outdoors.

“This is very positive news and speaks to the fact that we do have a degree of containment around these cases, there is a degree of localisation, if you like, to these cases,” Mr Andrews told a media conference on Monday.

“Pleasingly we haven’t seen cases in regional Victoria over these last four or five days.”

Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton added that it was an appropriate time to ease restrictions outside Melbourne, given there were no exposure sites and no wastewater detections in the past few days.

“Some of the protections for regional Victoria relate to Melburnians knowing what they need to do. So not travelling to regional Victoria, unless they’re permitted to, unless there’s an absolute reason to do so,” Professor Sutton said.

“I’ve got confidence in metropolitan Melburnians doing exactly that.”

Of Victoria’s 11 new cases, one was in quarantine throughout their infectious period, but Mr Andrews anticipated that trend would improve.

“We’re starting to see now the first of the new cases coming through that have been tucked away, no risk to public health, they’ve been in iso for 100 per cent of their infectious period. That’s the system working as it should,” he said.

More exposure sites

Some 38,987 tests were processed in the 24 hours to Monday morning, while 17,101 Victorians received a COVID-19 vaccine at one of the state-run hubs.

There are now more than 170 exposure sites across the state, including the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital in St Albans, which was visited by a positive case for six hours on Friday.

The state’s vaccination program has also ramped up, with Australia’s first drive-through clinic opened at a former Bunnings warehouse in Melton.

The facility is initially expected to administer 10,000 vaccine doses a week, with hopes it will be the first in a series of drive-through hubs.

All Victorian adults will also have the opportunity to get the AstraZeneca jab at nine of the state’s mass vaccination centres from Monday, while children aged 12-15 with underlying health conditions or of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent will be allowed to receive Pfizer doses.

Victoria recorded 11 COVID-19 cases on Sunday and 29 on Saturday.

-with AAP