Media Release
19 January 2021

Victoria has recorded four new cases of coronavirus since yesterday, three of which are related to the Australian Open tennis tournament. That takes the total cases associated with the tournament to seven. Two cases were reclassified due to evidence of previous infection.

The new cases are one female in their 20s and two males in their 30s, all associated with the Australian Open, and one female aged in their 30s who is a returned traveller.

The reclassified cases are one male in their 30s and one male in their 50s. Further investigations are ongoing to determine any other cases of prior infection which can be safely reclassified.

The new positive cases linked to the Australian Open involve two players and one non-playing participant.

While two cases of viral shedding were confirmed yesterday, this does not change broader assessment of the player group in hotel quarantine. As yet, none of the three affected flights have been cleared as a result of the two reclassified cases.

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

The number of active cases in Victoria is now 34, made up of three locally acquired cases, which is a decrease of one since yesterday, and 31 cases in travellers in hotel quarantine, an increase of two since yesterday.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has now declared that only 10 Local Government Areas (LGA) in Greater Sydney will remain in the red zone.

These are Blacktown City, Burwood, Canada Bay City, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield City, Inner West, Liverpool City, Parramatta City and Strathfield Municipality.

If you have been in one of these 10 LGAs in the last 14 days (other than for transit) you cannot travel to Victoria without an exemption, exception or essential worker permit.

From 6pm Monday 18 January, travellers from all other areas of Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains and Wollongong, can apply for an Orange Zone Permit and enter Victoria, as long as you have not been in any other currently listed red zone in the past 14 days and agree to the conditions of an Orange Zone Permit – self-quarantine, get a coronavirus (COVID-19) test within 72 hours and remain in self-quarantine until you receive a negative result.

Exemption applications will no longer be required if you have been in Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains and Wollongong in the 14 days prior to 6pm Monday 18 January - excluding the 10 red zone LGAs in Greater Sydney.

If eligible, you can apply for an Orange Zone Permit on the Victorian Travel Permit System page.

However, you may still request an exemption based on your specific and general circumstances, if you have been in a current red zone in the last 14 days other than for direct and short term transit purposes or if you do not meet the relevant requirements of the Orange Zone Permit.

Victoria’s new ‘traffic light’ permit system is now in effect.

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.

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 travellers 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.

Since the portal went live, 216,074 permits have been issued up to midday today. In the past 24 hours, 25,956 applications have been processed – an average of 18 permits issued each minute.

Applications can be made through the Service Victoria portal.

The department continues to work through applications for exemption applications for entry into Victoria – each application is considered to ensure that a person who is prohibited from travelling into Victoria from a Red Zone only travels when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Under Victoria’s restrictions, exemptions for care and compassionate reasons must be prioritised. This means that since the start of the Victorian-NSW border restrictions, a total of 2,633 exemptions have been granted and just four applications have been rejected. Approved exemption applications mostly relate to Victorians returning for compassionate reasons as well as inter-state residents travelling into Victoria for funerals or to be with a loved one at end of life.

As of 11am on Tuesday 19 January 2021, 973 applications are being carefully triaged, interviewed, assessed and considered.

As of yesterday, Monday 18 January 2021, office workers, excluding the Victorian Public Service, can increase to up to 50 per cent of on-site worker capacity. And 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.

Masks are only 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 department stores, electronics stores, furniture stores, hardware stores or supermarkets
  • 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.

Yesterday 15,574 tests were processed, bringing the overall testing total in Victoria since the pandemic began to 4,281,685.

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 on the Case locations and outbreaks page.

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