Vic virus streak continues despite WA case

Callum Godde
·3-min read

Victoria's daily streak of no new coronavirus deaths or cases has hit double digits, despite a traveller from WA testing positive.

As the so-called "ring of steel" and 25km travel limit ended on Monday, prompting heavy road traffic out of Melbourne, the state reported its 10th consecutive COVID-free day.

Testing boss Jeroen Weimar, however, revealed a positive test had been reported on Sunday night.

It came from a person who had previously quarantined in WA and has since been ruled a case of "viral shedding", with an expert panel deciding it won't count in Monday's tally.

The traveller arrived in Victoria weeks ago and was declared free of the virus before leaving WA.

"We picked them up again yesterday. It was a very low level of viral load," Mr Weimar told reporters on Monday.

He believes the individual wasn't reporting any symptoms when swabbed in Victoria.

Testing numbers remain strong, with 10,365 in the past 24 hours.

Mr Weimar said there had been 235,359 tests results returned over the past 14 days - up eight per cent on the previous two-week period.

Every local government area across the state is testing at least 1.5 per cent of its population, with 24 per cent of those tested under the age of 19.

"We're confident we're getting a very good spacial spread of testing activity across the whole state," Mr Weimar said.

Mr Weimar maintains the virus is still likely to be lingering somewhere in the community, as active cases remain unchanged at four.

"If we maintain this kind testing level we will be confident that we can detect any traces of the virus that might still be out there across Victoria," he said.

The easing of restrictions has fed debate about how long Victorians will have to keep wearing masks, with Deakin University's chair of epidemiology Catherine Bennett expressing her surprise the rule wasn't changed on Sunday.

Mr Weimar noted Melbourne had only started coming out of lockdown less than a fortnight ago.

"Right here, right now, masks are a critical element in safeguarding gains we have made," he said.

"We think it's the right thing to hold onto."

Melburnians were once again able to explore Victoria's regions on Monday, as the "ring of steel" and 25km travel limit expired at midnight.

Other rule changes have also kicked in, with hospitality venues now able to welcome up to 70 patrons outdoors and 40 indoors.

Gyms, libraries, community centres, galleries, museums and cinemas can also reopen but with a stricter cap of 20 people.

Premier Daniel Andrews flagged statewide rules would next ease on November 22, with Health Minister Martin Foley indicating there was no scope for those changes to be brought forward.

In multiple media interviews on Monday, Mr Foley straight-batted questions as the state government formulates a response to the hotel quarantine inquiry's interim report.

The report, released on Friday, made 69 recommendations including a suitability assessment of returned travellers for home quarantine.

Mr Foley wouldn't be drawn on the specific idea to introduce movement-monitoring ankle bracelets in that scenario, or potential changes to mask rules.

Meanwhile, the Victorian government announced it would stump up an extra $17.2 million to breathe life into the state's struggling arts, music and entertainment industries.

The state's virus death toll remains at 819 and the national figure is 907.