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Tests on single case may give Victoria its first virus-free day in months


Victorian authorities are investigating the state’s single new case of coronavirus.

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Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday confirmed the Department of Health and Human Services is investigating whether the case is in fact active.

“That one new case previously tested positive and there’s a further investigation underway to determine whether that is, in fact, an active case or whether that person is shedding the virus,” he told reporters.

One other COVID-19 case reported by the DHHS involves Victorian who is quarantining interstate, having recently returned from overseas.

“I would just say when you look at these numbers, this could potentially be a day of zero and it’s been a long time since we had a day of zero,” Andrews said.

“It’s a testament to the hard work of every single Victorian in the city, in the suburbs, in regional communities, large and small.”

He said the state was “well placed” to bring forward by a week the further easing of more restrictions in Melbourne slated for November 2, after several restrictions were either reduced or ended on Monday.

“It’s important we see this thing off properly. Sunday can be a day where we’ll have more to say,” Andrews said, ruling out the possibility of hospitality reopening in time for the AFL grand final on Saturday.

“No one game of footy, no one barbecue or dinner with friends is worth all that can be on offer in a COVID-safe summer and a COVID-safe and COVID-normal 2021.”

There are 122 active cases in Victoria, a drop of 14 from Monday.

Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average of new cases also dropped below seven to 6.4 and the number of mystery cases in the city from October 4-17 also fell by two to 13.

No deaths were recorded on Tuesday, with the state’s death toll remaining at 817, while the national figure is 905.

Eleven Victorians are in hospital fighting the virus, though none are in intensive care.

Two travellers from New Zealand have been forced into COVID-19 quarantine after unexpectedly arriving in Queensland.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the pair flew from Sydney and have been placed in mandatory hotel isolation.

“There are currently two people in hotel quarantine in Queensland who travelled from New Zealand under the arrangements made by the Morrison government,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Mr Miles said there had been “no further consideration” about the Sunshine State joining the travel bubble with New Zealand.

Queensland again recorded no new COVID-19 cases, with health officials completing 4080 coronavirus tests in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning.

Just four cases have been recorded in the past 14 days, down from five in the fortnight prior.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was pleased with the result, while urging Queenslanders to continue fronting up for testing if they have symptoms.

“That’s great Queensland, that’s exactly what we wanted to see,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said her government’s strong response to the virus had allowed the state to concentrate on economic recovery.

“Europe and the UK are going into lockdown with second and third waves which are having an impact globally and we don’t want to see that here,” she said.

Queensland’s last recorded cases were two returned overseas travellers on Friday.

NSW Health has recorded two new cases of locally acquired COVID-19 as authorities praise one Sydney suburb for increasing their testing four-fold.

One of these cases is a household contact of a previous case linked to the Liverpool private clinic cluster, which now totals 12 cases.

The other is a close contact of someone linked to the coronavirus cluster at the Great Beginnings Childcare Centre in Oran Park.

It comes as the Victorian government is reportedly looking at scaling back its trouble-plagued hotel quarantine program and using electronic monitoring devices for some returned travellers.

The use of such devices was being considered as one way of making sure returned travellers are isolating, The Age reported on Tuesday.

Prominent lawyer and human rights advocate Julian Burnside, the president of Liberty Victoria, said he backed electronic monitoring as an alternative to hotel quarantine.

“I don’t like the idea of electronic monitoring, but if it’s an infringement of individual liberties for the purpose of making the country safer, which is the case, then I think it’s justifiable,” he told ABC radio.

“If it saves you the horror of being locked up in a hotel room for two weeks, then I think it’s justifiable as well.”

Andrews on Monday reassured Melburnians they won’t have to wait until 2021 before they can travel to regional areas.

A so-called “ring of steel” separating metropolitan Melbourne from regional Victoria remains in place despite an easing in coronavirus restrictions in the city on Sunday night.

The Premier also on Monday conceded New Zealanders can enter Victoria despite the state not signing up to be a part of a trans-Tasman travel bubble negotiated by the federal government.

Andrews maintains the Federal Government did not inform him New Zealanders arriving in Sydney were entitled to travel beyond the participating states of NSW, ACT and the Northern Territory.


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