Victoria has recorded no new cases of coronavirus since yesterday.
This is the eighth consecutive day where Victoria has recorded no new locally acquired cases of coronavirus.
The number of active cases in Victoria is now 29, made up of 14 locally acquired cases, which is a decrease of four since yesterday, and 15 cases in returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine, a decrease of two since yesterday.
Victoria’s seven-day average for locally acquired cases is now zero and following the recent stabilisation of the Black Rock restaurant outbreak, the Victorian Chief Health Officer has advised that it is safe for Victoria to resume a staged increase in the return of workers to the office.
From this Monday 18 January, 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 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 also recommends that mask wearing is no longer necessary in certain settings.
From 11.59pm on 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 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.
This move signals a return to the mask requirements that existed prior to the Black Rock restaurant outbreak.
In addition, there are mask requirements under the Border Permit system. Those considered to be higher risk, such as people transiting to Victoria from green zones through red zones, and people coming to Victoria from orange zones while they are awaiting COVID-19 test results, will be required to wear a mask when leaving their home.
These new return-to-work and mask wearing measures will only come into effect if the current COVID-19 disease situation remains stable and the public health advice does not change.
As announced yesterday, anyone currently in Victoria who has completed 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine in Brisbane at the Grand Chancellor Hotel on or after 30 December is asked to isolate and contact the coronavirus hotline immediately.
There are 18 people in Victoria who were in that hotel who the department is contacting to provide advice about isolating and testing. The contact with these 18 people will ensure appropriate public health actions are taken and supports are in place.
Two additional people from the hotel who arrived in Victoria have travelled to South Australia. Victorian health authorities are working with their South Australian counterparts to ensure these two people are contacted and provided appropriate advice.
The Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Greater Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Redlands, Logan and Ipswich continue to remain in the in the red zone and travel to Victoria will not be permitted without an exemption, exception or permitted worker permit.
Anyone who has arrived into Victoria from these LGAs on or after 30 December must get tested and quarantine at home until they receive a negative result. They should call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 immediately.
Previously we had asked travellers to test if they had been in these Queensland areas on or after 2 January 2021, however this public health advice has changed based on new information from Queensland health authorities regarding the B.1.1.7 lineage cluster in their hotel quarantine program.
Yesterday 16,533 tests were processed, bringing the overall testing total in Victoria since the pandemic began to 4,211,148.
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 at the Where to get tested page.
Victoria’s new ‘traffic light’ permit system is now in effect.
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.
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 can be found at Victorian Travel Permit System page.
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 should take less than five minutes to complete a permit application which is processed automatically.
Since the portal went live on Monday night, 105,970 permits have been issued up to midday today. In the past 24 hours, 23,167 applications have been processed – an average of 16 permits issued each minute.
More than 82 per cent of the permit applications have come from people coming to Victoria from Green Zone areas. Around two-thirds of the applications (67.7%) are from Victorian residents.
Around nine per cent of applications are from people in the Orange Zone areas. The remaining applications are for worker permits or people transiting through orange and red zones.
Applications can be made through the Service Victoria portal.
The definition of the current zones are:
Red zone: You will not be allowed to enter Victoria without an exception, exemption or work or transit permit. If you try to enter Victoria at a land border without an exception, exemption, or work or transit permit you will be turned away. Victorian travellers who arrive at an airport or seaport will be fined and required to self-quarantine. Interstate travellers will be fined and sent back.
The Greater Sydney region (including the Blue Mountains and Wollongong) and the Local Government Areas of Greater Brisbane, including Brisbane City, Morton Bay, Redlands, Logan and Ipswich, are currently red zones and will continue to be monitored daily and updated accordingly. Travel from a red zone is not permitted.
People are allowed to transit through red zones on their way to Victoria. If you are transiting through a Queensland or New South Wales Red Zone to Victoria because you have a permit, or an exemption or exception, you can stop for toilet breaks, rest breaks, food and drinks or petrol. However, you should not stop to go to the shops, or visit others on the way home. Only stop when necessary, keep a record of your stops and ensure that you drive safely. You must wear a face mask in all public places.
Travellers from the green and orange zones can transit through Sydney or Brisbane airports on route to Melbourne. While transiting, travellers must not leave the Sydney or Brisbane airports, practise social distancing, wear a mask indoors at all times and outdoors when not able to socially distance, while in a car with others outside your group and while on the aircraft.
Orange zone: You will be able to apply for a permit and enter Victoria if you don’t have COVID-19 symptoms and haven’t been to a currently listed red zone in the last 14 days. Once in Victoria you must immediately self-isolate, get a COVID-19 test within 72 hours and continue to self-quarantine until you get a negative test result.
Regional NSW is classified as an orange zone. For travellers who arrived from regional NSW and are currently quarantining at home, they are now permitted to leave quarantine only if they have tested negative to COVID-19.
Green zone: You will be able to apply for a permit and enter Victoria if you don’t have COVID-19 symptoms and haven’t been to a currently listed orange or red zone in the last 14 days. Once in Victoria you should watch for symptoms and get a COVID-19 test if you feel unwell.
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 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.