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Victoria ‘on top of cluster’ state wakes to first day of freedom

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley has expressed his confidence that the latest COVID-19 outbreak appears to be under control as the state enjoys its first day of freedom after a five-day snap lockdown.

Victoria's Health Minister Martin Foley has expressed his confidence the latest COVID-19 outbreak appears to be under control as the state enjoys its first day of freedom after a five-day snap lockdown.

Victoria today recorded its second day of zero community acquired COVID-19 cases.

Mr Foley said there could still be more cases to come out of the Holiday Inn cluster, but these were likely to be in close contacts of previous cases who are all in isolation.

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Fifteen of the 19 community cases associated with the Holiday Inn have now been genomically sequenced and linked to the original Holiday Inn cases.

"The remaining four will not be far away," Mr Foley said.

Mr Foley thanked Melburnians for their cooperation and said the evidence showed things were looking good.

"We know it has been tough and we know it has been a big impact on families and businesses, on schools and the wider community.

"In terms of the strategy behind it, it is always difficult to prove something that did not happen as a result of strategy but the evidence is pointing to this cluster being well on top of and I look forward to running it down over the next week."

Businesses began reopening from the stroke of midnight with many owners keen to make up for lost revenue.

It's estimated the most recent shutdown, and the state's third, has cost businesses $1 billion dollars capping off a turbulent year of hardship amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Victorians are being urged to go out and dine out in the coming days to support businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors.

Pierrick Boyer, who runs a cafe in Prahran, told Today he was eager to get back to work describing the closure as "catastrophic".

"Just over three days (we lost) $20,000. We had to pay for the cost of goods, labour and also the last-minute warning, it wasn't great," Mr Boyer said.

"Last minute we had to cut the roster, we had to close all the stores for the last three, four days. Catastrophic."

Students will also return to classrooms shortly.

But the premier has not ruled out another lockdown in the future and it's likely more positive coronavirus cases could be recorded in the coming days.

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However, with no mystery cases of COVID-19, the green light was given for Victoria to reopen.

Crowds will return to the Australian Open today but at a reduced capacity of 50 per cent.

Despite the breakthrough after an outbreak of the UK strain of COVID-19 last week, some restrictions will remain in place and cross-border travel is still limited.

From 12.01am, people are now able to leave their house for any reason rather than just for the "essential four" of work, caregiving, shopping and fitness.

There will also be no travel distance limit in place for people headed out to exercise or hit the store.

However, when out of doors, Victorians will need to carry a mask.

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Masks are mandatory indoors, and outdoors when social distancing is impossible, such as at shopping centres, on transport, or in crowds.

A temporary limit on house guests is also in place until Friday next week, with a maximum of five visitors allowed. Out of doors, 20 people can gather in public.

Schools, universities and TAFE centres will all be allowed to open, though it will be up to individual institutions to determine how they approach the final days of the week.

Offices will also be open, though high-density workplaces will still be limited by the 50 per cent cap.

Funerals and weddings do not have a specific cap, but crowd numbers will be limited by the venue density limit.

Source: 9News

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