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Victoria records two new local COVID-19 cases as testing numbers drop

Victoria has recorded two new locally acquired cases of coronavirus, though both pose little risk to the community.

The state health department on Monday confirmed the new cases, as well as four in hotel quarantine.

“The two new locally acquired cases are primary close contacts of existing cases, with no community exposure during their infectious period,” the department said.

Some 16,932 Victorians were tested for COVID-19 in the 24 hours to Monday morning, while 13,764 received a vaccine dose at state-run hubs.

Melbourne emerged from a two-week lockdown on Friday, though strict restrictions including a ban on home gatherings, a 25km travel limit and mandatory masks indoors and out will remain until at least 18 June.

Regional Victorians are allowed two visitors at home, while density limits are in place at restaurants, pubs and cafes, gyms and other venues.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton on Sunday said the state was “on track” to further ease restrictions later in the week, though “exactly what that will look like is to be determined”.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar said he was concerned over the big drop in testing numbers.

“Our concern at the moment is there may well be more people out there, there may well be more branches out there from this outbreak,” he said.

“I think I am concerned the testing numbers are dropping and while we are still dealing with new cases emerging, I would really encourage people to keep those testing numbers up.”

No target on vaccinated Australians to reopen borders

It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended the nation’s strategy of aggressive COVID-19 suppression while overseas.

The prime minister is attending the G7 summit in Cornwall in the UK as an observer and told reporters he would “rather be living in the arrangements we have in Australia than anywhere else in the world”.

Australia’s suppression strategy has kept the nation’s borders closed and seen states go into lockdown over a handful of cases.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson greets Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during the G7 summit in Cornwall.

Mr Morrison said that the UK, despite a high vaccination rate, was still recording high numbers of new cases.

“At this stage of the pandemic, it is not clear where it goes next … (given) the potential for new strains and other things to occur,” he said.

While Australian’s can’t travel overseas, Mr Morrison said they can “go to sporting games, or

they can go to work, they can live in an economy that is bigger today than it was before”.

Mr Morrison said his government hadn’t set a target on the number of Australians who need to be vaccinated before international travel resumes.

He said this would only occur “when the medical advice suggests we should”.

Meanwhile, there is growing optimism Queensland will be spared an outbreak after a couple arrived from Melbourne while they were infected.

There were no new locally acquired cases reported in Queensland on Saturday or Sunday, with local police yet to interview the couple.

There were 5,834,746 vaccines administered to Friday nationwide.

Source: sbs