News State Victoria News Victoria’s virus toll rises with first fatality in weeks

Victoria’s virus toll rises with first fatality in weeks

victoria virus numbers
Victoria's coronavirus toll has risen, with the death of a woman who previously had a the virus. Photo: Getty
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Victoria has another coronavirus fatality, with the death of a woman in her 70s confirmed on Monday.

State health authorities say the woman died from complications from her original COVID-19 diagnosis, which was back in July.

“In line with the national case definition, this is a COVID-related death as no recovery occurred from time of infection,” the Department of Health and Human Services said.

It is Victoria’s first coronavirus-related death since October 28 and takes the state’s toll from the pandemic to 820. The national toll is 908.

Premier Daniel Andrews offered his condolences to the woman’s family.

“The coroner will look at this, but our advice is that she passed away very recently,” he said.

“They believe the coronavirus-induced damage to her lungs has caused her to pass away, and therefore she is counted as a coronavirus death.”

Victoria had its 31st day without any new virus infections on Monday, and has no active cases.

Monday’s results came from 5030 tests conducted on Sunday.

Earlier, the state’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton, took to Twitter with a lengthy thread to congratulate Victorians for eliminating the virus after the deadly second wave. He also sounded a note of caution.

“I’m confident there’s not active transmission in Victoria but we have to maintain alertness. Not fear, but a precautionary approach and readiness to respond,” he said.

“With 600,000 new cases globally each day, the risk is always there. We must – and will – strengthen quarantine.”

Victoria will resume hotel quarantine for returned overseas travellers from December 7. Errors in the original program have been blamed for sparking the second wave.

Also on Monday, Mr Andrews unveiled a shake-up of Victoria’s health authorities. A new agency, to be called COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, will overseas all elements of the revamped scheme.

“We all have to acknowledge that there is no quarantine system that can be built with zero risk. There will always be some residual risk,” he said.

“Some would say that it is inevitable that there will be outbreaks, that there will be cases. The key point is to make sure that we have the strongest system in place to lock down any outbreak, to shut that down, without having to shut down the suburbs, or metropolitan Melbourne, or the entire state.”

Victoria will take up to 160 returned travellers a day when the program resumes.

Mr Andrews is expected to confirm a further relaxation of virus restrictions across Victoria on December 6.

NSW also confirmed no new community infections on Monday – its 23rd day on end without local cases. The state had nine more cases in people in hotel quarantine.

NSW’s figures came from 6106 tests.

In other developments for Victoria and NSW, Queensland will open its borders to Victorians and Sydney-siders from Tuesday.

The Northern Territory will also lift its coronavirus hotspot declaration for greater Melbourne from midday Monday, clearing the way for people to travel to the Territory without the need to quarantine.

Anyone from greater Melbourne already in quarantine will also be allowed to leave.

“Victoria’s ability to beat COVID-19 has become a global success story and it now occupies a rare and envious position on the world stage,” NT chief health officer Hugh Heggie said.

Dr Heggie said he would continue to review the COVID-19 situation across Australia and declare new hotspots if regions were considered a risk to the Territory.

The NT has also introduced a new check-in system requiring customers and visitors to provide contact details when entering a range of venues for more than 15 minutes.

The system will use a government app to ensure a contactless operation.

-with AAP