Victoria records NO new coronavirus cases – as millions of anxious Aussies wait to discover what restrictions will stay when lockdown ends within hours
- Victoria had no new cases of Covid-19 overnight ahead of lockdown decision
- Health officials have said 40,000 people were tested for the virus on Tuesday
- State has been plunged into a five-day lockdown since midnight on Friday
- Victoria expected to relax restrictions when they expire on Wednesday night
- Rules including mandatory mask-wearing may remain in place despite easing
Victoria has recorded no new coronavirus cases overnight – just hours ahead of Premier Daniel Andrews announcing what restrictions will remain after lockdown.
The state was plunged into stage four restrictions for five days on Friday, with the rules set to end at 11.59pm on Wednesday night.
While the lockdown is expected to be eased, restrictions including mandatory mask-wearing are likely to be kept in place when Mr Andrews meets with his cabinet later on Wednesday morning.
The Health Department said 40,000 people were tested for the virus on Tuesday and there are 25 active cases across the state.
Workers in PPE load luggage onto a bus outside the Holiday Inn Hotel on Flinders Lane in Melbourne on Tuesday. Victoria has recorded no new coronavirus cases overnight
Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to ease Victoria’s lockdown on Wednesday, but keep restrictions like mandatory mask-wearing in place
Everything you need to know about the restrictions
What is expected to change when Victoria’s five day lockdown is scheduled to be lifted at 11.59pm Wednesday
– Schools to reopen
– Crowds to return for the final four days of the Australian Open but in limited numbers
What restrictions are expected to remain in place
– Masks must be worn in indoor public settings
– Limits on household gatherings to remain, which were halved from 30 to 15 a week prior to lockdown
Current restrictions in place until 11.59pm Wednesday
From Friday February 12 at 11.59pm, new rules apply to Victoria until 11.59pm on Wednesday February 17 due to a worrying new outbreak of the UK mutant strain of Covid-19.
- Stage Four lockdown for the entire state
- Only four essential reasons to leave the house – essential shopping, essential work/education, care-giving or two hours of exercise per day
- All residents must stay within 5km of their home other than essential work or shopper
- Outdoor exercise must be with your household, intimate partner or one other person not from your household
- Mandatory masks everywhere except your home
- No visitors to anyone’s home
- All non-essential shops will be closed
- Public gatherings banned
- Work from home
- Schools closed except for vulnerable children
- Places of worship closed
- Weddings banned
- Funerals capped at 10 people
- Community spaces including swimming pools and libraries closed
Former Australian Medical Association President Tony Bartone said no late-night reports of new cases was a positive sign the shutdown would come to an end.
‘It would look like we will be coming out of lockdown this evening,’ Dr Bartone told Nine’s Today on Wednesday.
‘Of course, any new cases especially cases which are not already linked to that cluster at the Holiday Inn and not already in isolation would obviously put a last-minute dampener on things, but perhaps looking very likely at this stage.
Crowds will likely be allowed again at the Australian Open in a limited capacity when Mr Andrews addresses the media to announce the new restrictions.
Restrictions on indoor gatherings and visitors to the home are also expected to remain in place.
Senior Victorian government ministers met on Tuesday night to finalise plans to drop the lockdown, the Herald Sun reported.
Premier Daniel Andrews warned on Tuesday it was unlikely the state would return to the old rules immediately.
A near-deserted Bourke St in Melbourne’s CBD on Monday. Premier Daniel Andrews warned on Tuesday it was unlikely the state would return to the old rules immediately
Australian Open crowds are expected to return to Rod Laver Arena on Thursday but with further restrictions. Pictured is a women’s quarter final-match in action at the deserted venue on Wednesday
‘We’ll still have to get tested if we have symptoms. We’ll still have to wear masks in a number of settings. There will still be limits to the number of people that can come to your home,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘We are looking to get back to as close as to what that kind of resting COVID normal was, as we can. But we’ve got to do it safely.’
International flights into Melbourne have been diverted during the lockdown, and the state government has confirmed flights will not resume on Thursday.
Mr Andrews said authorities are looking at constructing purpose-built quarantine accommodation outside of central Melbourne, based on the Howard Springs facility in the Northern Territory.
Police patrol the streets of Melbourne during the city’s five-day ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19
It comes as COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria confirmed a ‘small group’ of employees move between hotels and another office.
Managers, executive staff and clinical leaders work for Healthcare Australia, the group that provides medical services for ‘cold hotels’, travel between their St Kilda Road office and quarantine hotels on some days.
‘These staff members may be required to enter a green zone in quarantine hotel to oversee HCA teams on site, but there is no requirement for them to enter a red zone or have contact with residents,’ a CQV spokeswoman told AAP.
A key recommendation of Victoria’s hotel quarantine inquiry interim report stipulated that ‘every effort must be made to ensure that all personnel working at the facility are not working across multiple quarantine sites’.