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Victoria may have no new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday with authorities suspecting the state’s only new infection was historical.
The state’s lone case, recorded in Moonee Valley in Melbourne’s north-west, is from an individual who has previously tested positive to the virus. The premier, Daniel Andrews, said experts were now trying to determine if this was an extremely rare reinfection or if they were simply still shedding the virus from their previous illness.
“This could potentially be a day of zero and it’s been a long time since we had a day of zero and it’s a testament to the hard work of every single Victorian in the city, in the suburbs, in regional communities, large and small,” Andrews said.
The last time Victoria recorded no new cases was on 8 June, just ahead of the start of the second wave. Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average has now dropped to 6.4.
There was a delay in firming up the daily numbers on Tuesday morning because the Department of Health and Human Services was apparently checking one of two new cases initially reported.
When the figures were settled, it said one of the infected people had a Victorian address but was quarantining interstate after returning from overseas.
In more positive news, Andrews flagged that pubs and cafes could be open by early next week if numbers stay low.
On Sunday, the premier suggested that hospitality would be able to reopen from 1 November, but said the date could be brought forward. On Tuesday, he provided more clarity on the potential timeline.
“I’ll stand here on Sunday [25 October] and hopefully be able to confirm for Victorians that when it comes to retail, pubs, restaurants, cafes, bars, as well as a number of other settings, that we can have what’s been termed a ‘dark opening’ for, say, the first one or two days of next week and then we can be up and running from then. It’s not appropriate for us to try and bring that forward,” he said.
Andrews did not clarify what a “dark opening” would entail and specified that all decisions would be made based on case numbers in the coming days.
The premier also noted that one mystery case would no longer be enough to delay the state’s opening, as suggested in the restrictions roadmap.
“A single case like that would not be the difference between this Sunday … for a staged opening a couple of days later, and waiting until 1 November,” he said.
The state recorded no deaths on Tuesday, with the death toll remaining at 817.
Andrews confirmed the state government was looking at scaling back its trouble-plagued hotel quarantine program and using electronic monitoring devices for some returned travellers, but said no decision has been made.
“As far as bracelets … anklets, whatever we might call them, [it] was drawn to my attention that other countries were doing it and I simply said it’s worth looking at and let’s look at that,” he said.
“If we can get people safely into their own home but have a high degree of confidence that they’re not spreading the virus, and we can monitor their health status statement, that seems common sense to me.”
Prominent lawyer and human rights advocate Julian Burnside, the president of Liberty Victoria, said he backed electronic monitoring as an alternative to hotel quarantine.
“It seems to me the idea is a good one, as long as it saves people from something worse,” he told ABC radio.
“I don’t like the idea of electronic monitoring, but … 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.”
Tuesday was the lasted in a string of days where New South Wales have had more locally acquired cases than Victoria, with two new infections recorded.
NSW deputy chief health officer Jeremy McAnulty said the two new locally acquired cases were both linked to known cases and clusters. One was a household contact of a previously confirmed case linked to the Liverpool private clinic cluster, which now has a total of 12 cases.
The other locally acquired case was a close contact of a case linked to someone who attended the Great Beginnings childcare centre at Oran Park.
There were also three Covid-19 cases diagnosed in returned travellers who remain in hotel quarantine.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Victorian premier Daniel Andrews says state may have had zero new coronavirus cases | Victoria