Victoria’s streak of days free of new coronavirus cases has hit 35, ahead of a weekend announcement about eased restrictions.
Friday’s figures, with 8784 tests in the previous 24 hours, mean Victorians have notched up five weeks without any new virus infections.
The milestone come with Premier Daniel Andrews expected on Sunday to confirm more easing of virus measures ahead of Christmas.
There will be another milestone on Monday, with five international flights due to land at Melbourne airport as Victoria’s revamped hotel quarantine program restarts for overseas travellers.
The flights from Singapore, Hong Kong, Colombo and Doha will touch down at Tullamarine throughout the day and are expected to carry a total of about 125 passengers.
The arrivals will be transported to quarantine for 14 days as part of the new-look program. It has been overhauled after outbreaks from two hotels sparked Victoria’s deadly second coronavirus wave.
It is being overseen by newly established agency COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV) under Corrections Commissioner Emma Cassar. She will report to Police Minister Lisa Neville.
There will be no private security guards involved, with all staff employed or directly contracted by CQV. The only exception will be cleaning staff, who are on fixed-term contracts with Alfred Health.
About 300 Victoria Police officers and 220 Australian Defence Force personnel will also be embedded in the hotels each day.
Arrivals to Victoria are initially capped at 160 travellers a day, with the lucky few required to pay about $3500 per adult for their mandatory two-week stay.
They won’t be able to leave their rooms for fresh air or exercise breaks, while food and care packages will no longer be permitted.
Unveiling the scheme last Monday, Mr Andrews said it would be the “strongest and safest quarantine program in the country”.
Meanwhile, Victorian health authorities on Thursday announced traces of COVID-19 had been detected in a wastewater sample north-west of Melbourne.
The Department of Health and Human Services is investigating the sample from the Daylesford, Hepburn and Hepburn Springs area.
Locals and recent visitors to the region have been urged to get tested.
A testing push is already underway in the Victorian town of Colac, south-west of Melbourne, after it also recorded a positive wastewater sample.