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Victoria records no new local coronavirus cases ahead of further easing of restrictions

Victoria has recorded no new locally acquired coronavirus cases, ahead of a further easing of restrictions across Melbourne and the regions on Friday.

The Health Department on Thursday confirmed just one new COVID-19 case involving a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.

The total number of active cases in the state is now 54.

Some 25,635 Victorians were tested in the 24 hours to midnight on Wednesday while 15,610 received a COVID-19 vaccine dose at state-run hubs.

It comes ahead of an easing of restrictions in Melbourne and regional Victoria from Friday.

Under the latest changes, Melbourne residents will be able to travel to regional Victoria with the removal of the 25km journey bubble, host two adult visitors plus their dependents per day and gather outdoors in groups of 20.

Masks will remain mandatory indoors but will only be required outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible.

Businesses such as gyms and indoor entertainment venues will be able to reopen, while density limits at offices, cafes, restaurants and pubs will increase.

In regional Victoria, the home visit cap will increase to five adults plus their dependents per day, while up to 50 people can gather outdoors.

Acting Premier James Merlino says restrictions could ease further in a week’s time if COVID-19 cases remain low.

“We have to ease in a way that is safe, and we are making positive progress,” he said on Wednesday.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said there still may be undetected cases in the community and urged people not to slacken off on following rules.

“It’s really tough. This is 16 months into a pandemic. There is no question that people are over this,” he said.

Professor Sutton said authorities would have to balance the ongoing need for masks in high-risk indoor settings over winter against fatigue.

“We don’t want people to be fatigued by mask-wearing and basically not doing it,” he said.

Source: sbs