Victoria’s new border concern

One of Victoria’s biggest COVID-19 concerns is people from NSW bringing the virus in, Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng says.

Victoria now has three active cases in the whole state, compared to 23 in NSW, nine in Queensland and 53 in New Zealand.

Professor Cheng said Victoria’s case numbers were “about as good as it can get” after the state recorded zero new cases and zero new deaths for the 15th day in a row on Saturday.

“What we’re still concerned about are two things,” he said.

“One is that there may still be the potential for hidden chains of transmission out there — obviously that chance is decreasing as time goes on.

“And then, obviously, the potential from incursion of cases from outside, from New Zealand or New South Wales.”

NSW will open its border to Victoria on November 23.

A NSW Health spokeswoman said the state had recorded no locally acquired cases in the past seven days but remained vigilant in the fight against COVID-19.

“NSW Health will continue to work closely with our colleagues in Victoria and other jurisdictions to protect the health and safety of people throughout Australia,” she said.

In the 24 hours to Saturday morning, 14,614 Victorians were tested for coronavirus.

Professor Cheng also said 515 historical, unknown cases had been reclassified after the Department of Health and Human Services deployed a new data mining algorithm.

There were about 4200 historical COVID-19 cases with an unknown source, meaning DHHS does not know how the person caught the virus.

The reclassified cases are mostly from July and August.

The algorithm analysed information such as workplaces, residential addresses, and outbreak locations to find links that were not discovered manually, Professor Cheng said.

“It’s important to correct the record so that we can analyse the data correctly to make sure we have learnings for next time,” he said.

Meanwhile, Melbourne residents flocked out of the city on Friday evening, as the city celebrated its first opportunity to have a weekend getaway in months.

The ‘ring of steel’ banning travel of more than 25 kilometres from the home, and Melbourne residents going to regional Victoria, was lifted on Monday.

The next step on the ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ for Victoria is scheduled for November 22.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Monday the following changes to restrictions would come into effect from 11.59pm on that Sunday:

  • Up to 10 people will be allowed inside a home at one time
  • Up to 50 people can gather outdoors
  • Indoor physical recreation – including gyms – can have up to 100 people with classes of up to 20
  • Indoor community sport can go ahead with up to 100 people and outdoor with up to 500 people
  • Weddings and funerals allowed with up to 100 people, unless at a private residence
  • Hospitality venues can have 100 people indoors and 200 outdoors

For the full list see the ‘Third Steps’ guide at the bottom of this statement from Daniel Andrews.

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