Coronavirus Victoria: Fears virus could be 'circulating in community' as test blitz prepared

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·2-min read

Victoria has edged closer to hitting the trigger point of its final roadmap step out of restrictions after going yet another 24 hours without recording a single coronavirus case.

Tuesday marks the 11th consecutive day the state has reported zero new cases and zero deaths the previous day.

However the Department of Health and Human Service’s testing chief Jeroen Weimar has warned Victorians not to become complacent and still fears there is undetected virus lurking in the community.

There are just four active cases across the state, while mystery cases over a two-week period have fallen to one.

While Victoria only took the final instalment of Step Three on Monday, which saw the end of Melbourne’s ring of steel, it is now just three days of zero new cases away from hitting the requirements for the last step.

Victorians were free to travel as far as they wanted within the state from Monday. Source: Getty
Victorians were free to travel as far as they wanted within the state from Monday. Source: Getty

Once the state records 14 days without a single case, health authorities will advise public gatherings can rise to 50 outdoors while 20 people can gather indoors.

There will also be a staged return for spectators to sporting fixtures and entertainment events.

On Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews said the next round of changes will come on November 22.

The state’s death toll remains at 819.

The state has recorded just nine cases since lockdown ended on October 28.

Victoria prepares testing blitz

Victoria is preparing to launch its first large-scale asymptomatic testing program as it continues to roll back restrictions.

Mr Andrews has repeatedly warned the state will need to keep testing rates high to maintain a COVID-norm, and while the daily tests have consistently been above 10,000, asymptomatic testing is seen as a way to continue such numbers with the virus on the verge of eradication.

On Tuesday, a further 12,955 processed tests were reported.

Mr Weimar has confirmed the testing blitz, saying it would not target any particular area.

"We still feel there will be traces of the virus circulating in our community," he told 3AW.

While the DHHS has done some asymptomatic testing, most samples have come from people showing virus symptoms.

Life in Victoria is inching towards "COVID normal", with iconic institutions preparing to reopen and many Melbourne residents stuck in traffic as they rediscover the regions.

There were reports of traffic snarls on Monday as the so-called "ring of steel" separating Melbourne from regional Victoria expired at 11.59pm on Sunday, along with the 25km travel limit.

Police were still dismantling vehicle checkpoints during the day, causing some delays as passing drivers slowed to 40km/h.

with AAP

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