VICTORIA’S streak of no coronavirus deaths or new cases has extended to 18 days as of Tuesday this week, and there could be further good news about the mandatory wearing of face masks within the month.
The entire state is scheduled to move to lesser restrictions under the Last Step on Victoria’s coronavirus roadmap on Monday, November 23.
Speaking on Saturday, Victorian Deputy Chief Health Officer Professor Allen Cheng said mask restrictions could ease within the next month but said Victorians should not “get ahead of ourselves”.
“If we don’t have cases for a while, then we’ll be able to relax some of those settings but we want to see what things look like at the time.
“It does not only depend on what’s happening in Melbourne but what’s happening in the New South Wales and if the bubble still opens in New Zealand, then what happens there as well.”
He declined to specify how the mask restrictions would be eased.
“What we will probably say would be things like you would need to wear your mask indoors but not outdoors, those sorts of things that will depend on the situation.
“I would expect within the next month, but the exact timing, again, depends on the situation.”
There were three active cases on Tuesday, and testing jumped dramatically in the previous 24 hours to 17,412 after Monday’s low figure of 6,695.
An outbreak of coronavirus in Adelaide’s northern suburbs outbreak has grown to 17, and only four days after South Australia announced it would reopen their border on December 1, Victorian health department officials are now meeting all SA arrivals at Melbourne airport to check for symptoms and take temperatures.
Prof. Cheng said on Monday that travellers would be asked where they’ve been, and if from an identified “area of risk”, requested to take a test and isolate.
“If they refuse to get tested they will be treated as a close contact and be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has not ruled out closing the border with SA.
“We’ve never closed our border. I’ve never criticised others for closing theirs, they’ve done what I would’ve done if the circumstances were different,” he said.
“So I can’t take it off the table. I’ve got confidence that (SA Premier) Steven Marshall will get on top of this.
“I want a situation where every border in the country is open by Christmas.”
For the latest coronavirus updates, head to dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.
– WITH AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS