New restrictions announced hours after two new Covid cases

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

Victoria's coronavirus restrictions will be rolled back from midnight tonight, with the state's mask mandate eased.

Masks will only need to be worn on public transport, in ride-share vehicles, at indoor shopping centres and other crowded places and in aged care facilities, Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Friday.

Victorians will also be allowed to have up to 30 people in their homes while outdoor gatherings will now be limited to 100 people.

“It’s with confidence we can return to those COVID safe summer settings. None of it is possible without the extraordinary efforts from every Victorian,” Mr Andrews said.

People wearing masks in public due to coronavirus. Source: Getty
Mask restrictions have been eased for Victorians. Source: Getty

The development comes despite the state recording two locally acquired cases in the previous 24 hours.

Both cases are close contacts of cases linked to the Holiday Inn cluster and were both in isolation.

For the first time, 75 per cent of both public and private sector workers will be allowed to return to the office from Monday.

Crowds will also return to the MCG and Marvel Stadium from round one of the AFL at 50 per cent capacity.

The two cases brings the total number of cases linked to the Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport outbreak to 24.

The outbreak can be traced back to a family of three staying at the quarantine hotel in early February, who contracted the highly infectious UK virus strain overseas.

Fears the virus would spread to the community led to a five-day "circuit-breaker" lockdown, which ended on February 18.

Mr Andrews thanked the thousands of close contacts linked to the outbreak who will finish quarantining on Friday.

"We acknowledge the fact that whilst we've all pretty well got back to normal in the last couple of weeks, they have been doing the best of work for all of us, not only to keep their own family safe but to keep every single family safe," he said.

Another vaccine bungle

Meanwhile, federal health authorities are looking at whether 150 doses of Pfizer vaccine have been left at the wrong temperature and are now unusable.

It's understood aged care residents at St Vincent's Care Services Werribee were vaccinated this week, with 25 vials of vaccine leftover.

The Pfizer vaccine has six doses per vial and is stored at -70C, with logistics company DHL transporting them across the country in portable freezers.

Once removed from the freezer, the unopened vaccine can be stored for up to five days at 2C to 8C and for two hours at up to 30C.

It should not be refrozen after thawing.

It's the second possible bungle to Australia's coronavirus rollout, which is in its first week.

Outside of aged care, about 2900 shots have been administered to frontline health workers and hotel quarantine staff in Victoria.

Meanwhile, anyone arriving in Melbourne from Auckland will be sent to quarantine for 14 days due to a cluster of cases at an Auckland high school.

With AAP

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