Media Release
17 January 2021

Victoria has recorded seven new cases of coronavirus since yesterday. 

Four are returned international travellers in hotel quarantine, one is an air crew member in hotel quarantine, and two are non-playing participants of the Australian Open also in hotel quarantine.

The new cases are a male in his 50s, a male in his 40s, and a male in his 30s, a female in her 50s, a female in her 20s and one male and one female child.

For the the eleventh consecutive day, Victoria has recorded no new locally acquired cases of coronavirus.

The number of active cases in Victoria is now 30, made up of five locally acquired cases, which is a decrease of two since yesterday, and 25 cases in returned overseas travelers in hotel quarantine, an increase of 6 since yesterday.

From tomorrow, Monday 18 January, office workers, excluding the Victorian Public Service, can increase to up to 50 per cent of on-site worker capacity. The Victorian Public Service can initiate a return to on-site work starting at up to 25 per cent capacity.

A further increase in these capacity limits is anticipated to occur in late February but will be subject to ongoing public health advice.

Given the current low levels of COVID-19 community transmission in Victoria, the Victorian Chief Health Officer has recommended that mask wearing is no longer necessary in certain settings.

From 11.59pm tonight, Sunday 17 January, masks will only be mandatory:

  • on public transport
  • when riding in a ride share or taxi
  • inside shopping centres, including the retail stores inside shopping centres, such as clothing stores
  • inside indoor markets
  • in large retail stores (over 2000 sqm), such as supermarkets, department stores, electronics stores, furniture stores, or hardware stores
  • on domestic flights to and from Victoria
  • at airports
  • in hospitals

You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to. It is strongly recommended you wear one whenever you cannot keep 1.5 metres distance from others.

Due to the reduced exposure risk and low community transmission, the Local Government Areas of Greater Brisbane - Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Redland, Logan, and Ipswich - have now been declared orange zones by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer.

Anyone applying for an Orange Zone Permit will need to agree to the conditions including the requirement to self-quarantine, get tested within 72 hours of arrival and remain in self-quarantine until they receive a negative result.

They must also attest that they are not a diagnosed person or a close contact of another diagnosed person, are not experiencing coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms and confirm that they have not been in a currently listed red zone in the past 14 days.

Exemption applications will no longer be required if a person has been in Greater Brisbane in the last 14 days. If eligible, the person can apply for an Orange Zone Permit on the Victorian Travel Permit System page.

All areas in Australia are designated as red, orange or green zones based on the latest COVID-19 advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer.

The latest information and advice, including a description of the three zones, can be found on the Victorian Travel Permit System page.

The Greater Sydney region (including the Blue Mountains and Wollongong) is currently a red zone and will continue to be monitored daily and updated accordingly.

Travel from a red zone is not permitted unless you have an exception, exemption or work or transit permit.

All travellers entering Victoria now require a permit. The conditions of the permit will be based on where the person is travelling from, or where they have been.

This system allows all residents and travelers wishing to enter Victoria from anywhere across Australia to apply for a permit via the Service Victoria online portal. It takes less than five minutes to complete a permit application which is processed automatically.

As at 8am this morning, there have been 166,173 applications for permits or exemptions since the new traffic light system went live on Monday night (11 January).

There have been 20,435 permits issued in the past 24 hours up to 8am this morning – an average of 14 permits issued each minute.

At 6pm Brisbane moved from a red zone to an orange zone, resulting in an immediate spike in traffic with applications jumping from 15-20 a minute up to 40-60.

Applications can be made through the Service Victoria portal.

As of 11.59pm Saturday 16 January 2021, following the announcement that Queensland Red Zones were turning to orange zones, the number of exemption applications dropped to around 2,647. All applications are being carefully triaged, assessed, and considered so that the public health risk to Victorians is minimised.

More than 2,375 exemptions have already been granted.

Yesterday 11,023 tests were processed, bringing the overall testing total in Victoria since the pandemic began to 4,252,138.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath and loss or change in sense of smell or taste. If you are experiencing any symptoms, wear a fitted face mask when you get tested.

Please get tested at your nearest available testing location.

The department is publishing expected wait times at testing sites as well as updated information about locations and hours of operation on the Where to get tested page.

Everyone should continue to monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop symptoms.

Contact tracing interviews and investigations are continuing into the Victorian outbreak situation. As a result, more exposure sites may be discovered and details about exposure sites may change. A list of each exposure site, including dates and times, can be found at Case locations and outbreaks.

Information regarding COVID-19 is available at the Department of Health and Human Services website or by calling 1800 675 398.