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Victoria on track for restrictions to lift this week, Andrews says

Premier Daniel Andrews says Victoria remains “well placed” to further lift coronavirus restrictions this week, after recording no new cases of COVID-19 for a fourth straight day.

Key points:

  • Mr Andrews says a further announcement will be made on Thursday or Friday
  • But with thousands of close contacts testing negative, he says the state is on track
  • Veterans Minister Shaun Leane says the government is working with RSL Victoria on the possibility of ANZAC Day marches going ahead

Victoria processed 17,270 test results on Monday. One person with COVID-19 remains in hospital, but they are not in intensive care.

Victoria has not received any international passengers for more than a week after “pausing” the intake indefinitely ahead of a snap five-day lockdown which began on Friday, February 12.

The lockdown lifted on Thursday, with tighter rules on gatherings and mask-wearing set to stay until this Friday.

The lockdown was prompted by fears the more infectious UK strain of the virus may be circulating in the community after an outbreak linked to the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport quarantine hotel.

That outbreak now sits at 22 infections, with more than 3,500 people deemed close contacts over the course of the past fortnight and instructed to quarantine.

Catch up on the main COVID-19 news from February 23 with our coronavirus blog.A nurse in a face mask holds and inspects a vaccination needle.

A nurse in a face mask holds and inspects a vaccination needle.

Victoria is now on its second day of the coronavirus vaccine rollout.(ABC News: Daryl Torpy)

The last of the close contacts will be released from quarantine on Friday, the day Mr Andrews is expected to announce a further lifting of restrictions.

“Whilst we’ll leave those announcements until Thursday or Friday, we are well placed, given we continue to see no additional cases and lots and lots of negative test results from that target cohort,” he said today.

“So again, we thank them, because whilst the rest of us have been getting back to something close to normal, they’ve been at home isolating for all of us.”

A large photo of an infectious diseases nurse in PPE between two other pieces of artwork.

A large photo of an infectious diseases nurse in PPE between two other pieces of artwork.

A large photo photo display of infectious diseases nurse Laura Keily dressed in full PPE paying tribute to healthcare workers at Southbank in Melbourne.(ABC News: Darryl Torpy)

The state is on its second day of the national Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine rollout, with about 12,000 inoculations expected to be delivered this week.

There were 580 doses administered on Monday as part of the state-run effort to vaccinate frontline healthcare, quarantine and aged care workers, as well as other high-risk groups.

Aged care residents in Commonwealth-run homes have also received their first doses as part of the national rollout.

A nurse wearing a face mask receives a coronavirus vaccine from another nurse with their back to the camera.

A nurse wearing a face mask receives a coronavirus vaccine from another nurse with their back to the camera.

Nurse Mitra Vazifdar was one of the first people in Victoria to receive a coronavirus vaccine when the rollout began on Monday.(ABC News: Daryl Torpy)

Anzac Day marches may go ahead

The state’s Veterans Minister has revealed the government has been working with RSL Victoria to organise COVID-safe events for Anzac Day.

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Earlier this month, the large march through Melbourne’s CBD was cancelled for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.

RSL Victoria state president Robert Webster said at the time he had received advice that “we just can’t risk it”, especially with many veterans in vulnerable age groups.

But in a statement on social media, Veterans Minister Shaun Leane today said he had organised for major events and health department bureaucrats to work with RSL Victoria.

He said the events for people to honour veterans included “a potential march in Melbourne”.

Mr Andrews said the government was working closely with veterans’ groups to try to have an Anzac Day that was “as close to normal as possible”.

“It’s too early for me to say what exactly that will look like,” he said.

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Posted YesterdayMonMonday 22 FebFebruary 2021 at 9:07pm, updated 17hhours agoTueTuesday 23 FebFebruary 2021 at 1:22am

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