Victoria has hit yet another milestone, going three weeks without a new coronavirus case.
The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed a 21st consecutive day on Friday without a known locally acquired case.
The remarkable achievement, which appeared unlikely weeks ago as the state struggled to suppress the stubbon tail-end of the second wave, comes two days before Premier Daniel Andrews is set to ease further restrictions.
There are now just two active cases across the state.
And if the state can go one more week without a single case, it will hit the trigger point for a COVID-norm, the final stage on Mr Andrews’ roadmap out of restrictions.
Premier’s stark warning
While the state enjoys its biggest COVID-free stint since before the pandemic, Mr Andrews warned on Thursday against complacency, suggesting Victoria will face transmission of the virus in the community in the future.
“We’ve come so far, you’ve built this precious thing, let’s safeguard it,” he said.
“That means each of us have to make good choices. No one wants to go back into lockdown and we all have to play our part to ensure that doesn’t happen.
“There will be cases in the future, there will be outbreaks and we will manage those well. But testing is critical, it’s just the most important thing.”
On Friday it was announced there were 18,474 tests processed in the previous 24-hour reporting period.
Mr Andrews is expected to announce changes to the state’s divisive mask mandate as summer approaches.
Testing ramped up over virus fears
The virus-free results continue for Victoria as a "hard border" with virus-hit South Australia came into affect overnight.
It will remain in place until Sunday when a permit system is implemented.
The 48-hour shutdown was prompted by the unexpected detection of virus fragments in wastewater at the regional Victorian centres of Benalla and Portland, the latter just 70km from the South Australian border.
Both locations are along freight corridors, and the results emerged amid Adelaide's growing cluster which has sparked a six-day "circuit-breaker" lockdown over the border.
Residents of Benalla and Portland, as well as anyone who visited them between Sunday and Tuesday with any symptoms, are urged to get tested and isolate until receiving their result.
New testing sites will be opened on Friday as part of the testing push.
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