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Dark days are over as Victoria records just two new infections, zero deaths

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Premier Daniel Andrews says Victorians have every reason to feel optimistic after the state recorded just two new coronavirus cases and no deaths in the past 24 hours.

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The new case count is Victoria’s lowest since June 9 when zero infections were recorded, weeks before the state’s deadly second wave took hold.

“Today is a day where we can be optimistic and we can be positive and we can all of us as Victorians look at all that we have achieved,” Mr Andrews told reporters on Friday.

“We have stayed the course. We have not let our frustration get the better of us. We have made a conscious decision to defeat this second wave.”

And in another promising sign ahead of Sunday’s announcement about an easing of restrictions in Melbourne, the city’s rolling 14-day new case average dropped to 8.7 on Friday.

The same measure remains steady at 0.6 for regional areas.

NSW has recorded five new coronavirus cases, including one of community transmission, as restrictions ease around open-air concerts and outdoor dining.

Four of the cases reported on Friday are returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine, while one is linked to an existing cluster at Lakemba in Sydney’s southwest.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said a child and worker at the Great Beginnings childcare centre at Oran Park have also recently tested positive and would be included in Saturday’s figures.

Victorian Department of Health and Human Services figures also show the number of mystery cases in Melbourne rose by two to 17 for the period September 30 to October 13. There are no mystery cases in regional Victoria.

There is further good news out of Shepparton, where an outbreak has left three people infected and 400 of their contacts isolating.

Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp said there had been no further positive tests so far, with about 800 results confirmed.

“There’s a long way to go in terms of the next one to two days,” he told ABC Radio.

He is also confident that testing sites in the northern regional town will cope better with demand, after long queues on Wednesday and Thursday.

Everyone in the Shepparton area has been told to get tested.

A Melbourne truck driver has been referred to Victoria Police after he initially failed to disclose he had visited Shepparton on September 30 while infected.

It only came to light earlier this week after the first of the three infected people went for testing, leaving health authorities scrambling to contain the virus.

“We have got about 400 people in the Shepparton community that are either cases, contacts or their contacts, so those are three separate groups of people who are all linked through potential chains of transmission,” Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday.

“They are isolated at home … because of one person.”

The driver, who was infected in the Chadstone Shopping Centre outbreak, previously had admitted to visiting Benalla and Kilmore on September 29-30.

He visited the towns on a worker’s permit and illegally dined at a Kilmore cafe, sparking an outbreak there.

The truckie also stayed overnight in Kilmore on September 29.

Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said the driver had slipped through the contact-tracing net by the time he left for Kilmore.

Andrews has apologised for the long queues for testing in Shepparton, saying more sites will be set up as necessary.

-AAP

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