Daniel Andrews flags hopes for a 'COVID-normal Christmas' as Victoria records just one new case

Both Victoria and NSW are looking to ease further social distancing restrictions, with each state working hard to keep outbreaks from flaring up.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is taking his first day off in more than 100 days.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is taking his first day off in more than 100 days. Source: AAP

Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to make "significant announcements" about easing Victoria's restrictions this weekend. 

The state recorded just one new coronavirus case over the past 24 hours, with zero lives lost.

The new case is a parent of a child at the East Preston Islamic College where a student recently tested positive, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Friday.

Some "significant announcements" on the easing of restrictions are also expected to be announced in Victoria on Sunday, Mr Andrews said, with hopes for a "COVID-normal Christmas".

Victorian contact tracing chief Jeroen Weimar said 86 tests had been conducted in a community housing building in Broadmeadows on Thursday, which all came back negative. There is still about 30 residents who are yet to undergo testing, Mr Weimar said.

A notice barring residents of the building from leaving their homes has since been lifted.

Meanwhile, around 800 people connected to the East Preston Islamic College outbreak, and throughout northern Melbourne, have been asked to self-isolate.

"What we saw yesterday at Broadmeadows and what we've seen at Shepparton and what we've seen at Kilmore is the importance of going wide quickly, of testing as many people as possible and then trying to focus in on any remaining cases that we have," Mr Weimar said.

Residents of Ararat in south-west Victora have also been urged to monitor for symptoms after viral fragments were detected in wastewater despite no known cases in the area. 

“Wastewater testing may indicate there are undiagnosed cases of coronavirus in Ararat and we are erring on the side of caution by increasing the availability of testing in the area,” Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said.

New South Wales residents can also look forward to easing of a string of coronavirus restrictions, with more people set to be allowed to attend places of worship, gather outdoors and book at hospitality venues.

The state recorded zero new locally-acquired cases in the 24 hours leading up to Friday.

Thirty people will be allowed from Friday to gather outdoors, up from 20, group bookings at hospitality venues will be extended from 10 to 30 people and up to 300 will be allowed at places of worship.

Staffing at gyms will also be relaxed, with a safety marshal only required when more than 20 people are working out.

Coronavirus restrictions will be eased in NSW today.
Source: AAP

These allowances come after NSW recorded just one new locally-acquired case in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday.

But Premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged more people to wear masks on public transport and indicated more people could use the service if this happened.

"If we see mask-wearing goes back up, we can increase the number of people who can use public transport," she told reporters on Thursday. "We desperately need it to go back up."

Traces of the virus were also detected in sewage in the regional NSW city of Bathurst, with an alert issued for anyone who attended the Bathurst 1000 motor race last weekend. 

NSW Health urged anyone in Bathurst to get tested even if they had mild symptoms of the virus and to remain in isolation until test results came back.

It also wants people in southeast Sydney to watch for symptoms after a person who was in the area on 15 October tested positive.

Several venues have now been identified as places of potential exposure including Souths Juniors Club at Kingsford, Century 21 Dixon Real Estate, in Kingsford and The Shed Cafe at Royal Randwick Shopping Centre.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction's restrictions on gathering limits. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSW, VictoriaQueenslandWestern AustraliaSouth AustraliaNorthern TerritoryACTTasmania.

Published 23 October 2020 at 5:34am, updated 23 October 2020 at 11:14am
Source: AAP - SBS