Victoria has recorded its seventh day with no new coronavirus cases as it prepares to relax more restrictions this weekend.
There were zero cases and lives lost to COVID-19 in Victoria on Thursday, bringing the 14 day average average down to 1.3.
There are still currently two ‘mystery cases’ in the state from an unknown source.
Thanks to the declining case numbers, Melbourne residents will be able to go to the gym and travel to regional Victoria as a part of eased COVID-19 restrictions due to start at 11.59pm on Sunday.
Police are seen checking drivers reason for travel at the Kalkallo checkpoint during COVID-19 in Melbourne. There were zero cases and zero lives lost to COVID-19 in Victoria on Thursday, bringing the 14 day average average down to 1.3
Changes coming to Melbourne
Premier Daniel Andrews has promised more restrictions will be eased in Victoria as the state reported six consecutive days of zero new cases.
The following restrictions are set to be eased from 11.59pm on November 8:
1) Melbourne’s 25 kilometre travel limit will be scrapped.
2) Gyms will reopen with a cap of 20 people inside.
3) Hospitality venues will be able to seat 70 people outside. The cap on indoor dining will also be raised from 10 to 40 people.
4) Funerals will now be allowed to cater to 20 mourners inside and 50 mourners outside.
5) Religious gatherings may have 20 people indoors and 50 people, plus a religious leader, outside.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the good run had paved the way for a range of restrictions to be eased from 11.59pm on November 8.
The widely-hated travel restriction between Melbourne and regional Victoria will be lifted and the 25km travel radius scrapped.
Gyms and fitness facilities will reopen with a cap of 20 people while restaurants, hotels and cafes will be allowed to seat more patrons.
The outdoor cap will be raised to 70 people while the indoor dining limit will be lifted from 10 to 40 people.
Funerals will now be allowed to cater to 20 mourners indoors and 50 mourners outdoors.
Faith gatherings will also be allowed to have 50 people, plus a faith leader, outdoors and 20 people, plus a faith leader, indoors.
Mr Andrews said he was optimistic the changes would go ahead with the possibility of lifting more restrictions.
‘Sunday is going to be an important day, we’re on track to make some significant announcements,’ he said.
‘I can’t predict what will be announced other than what we’ve already outlined. We’re well on track to do all of those things.’
The low case numbers prompted New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian to announce her state would open its border to Victoria on November 23.
But Queensland could close their borders to NSW yet again if they deem the open border with Victoria to be too much of a risk.
Punters watch the spectator-free Melbourne Cup horse race on a laptop as they picnic in a park overlooking the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne on Tuesday
‘Another day of double zero,’ Victoria’s Department of Health announced on Friday. There are still currently two ‘mystery cases’ in the state from an unknown source
Not only has Victoria recorded seven consecutive days of zero new COVID-19 cases, but it has also reported no active cases linked to aged care homes – the first time since June 15.
The newfound freedoms come as a bittersweet moment for Victorians who have endured harsh lockdown to beat the second outbreak of COVID-19.
Aged care bore the brunt of the second wave: of Victoria’s 819 coronavirus deaths, more than 650 are related to aged care.
Epping Gardens, in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, had 38 deaths while St Basil’s Homes of the Aged had 44 deaths.
At least two Melbourne aged care facilities are facing lawsuits over virus fatalities.
The Department of Health and Human Services called it a significant achievement when it announced no active cases were linked to the centres on Thursday.
‘Late yesterday, the last remaining active case of COVID-19 linked to an aged care facility outbreak in Victoria was cleared,’ the DHHS said in a statement.
‘The clearance of this final active case represents a significant achievement in Victoria’s response to the second wave of this pandemic.’
Diners at popular restaurant Chin Chin in Melbourne as restrictions eased on October 28. Restaurants, hotels and cafes will soon be allowed to seat more patrons
As Victorians get set to enjoy more freedoms, Mr Andrews has encouraged residents to holiday at home.
Though his advice hit a snag with a popular Christmas destination off-limits for camping until next February.
Mornington Peninsula Shire has postponed foreshore camping for the bulk of the summer.
The reserves in Rosebud, Rye and Sorrento are major summer holiday spots.
Shire chief executive John Baker said it was not feasible to allow camping, given the ongoing health guidelines.
‘One of our major concerns is the transmission risk from people having to use the shared toilet and shower amenity blocks,’ he said.
‘This approach is consistent with the chief health officer’s advice which has underpinned our decision.’
The Shire added it would give an update in January about reopening camping areas and Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said her department would speak to them about the decision.
‘We do want to encourage the Mornington Shire Council and will continue to do that,’ she said.
People are seen exercising and enjoying the sunshine at an outside gym near Elwood beach in Melbourne. Gyms and fitness facilities will soon reopen with a cap of 20 people
Even as NSW prepares to reopen its Victorian border on November 23, Mr Andrews has encouraged residents to holiday at home.
‘I would urge Victorians – don’t be going to Sydney for Christmas unless you absolutely have to,’ the premier said on Wednesday.
‘You want a summer holiday? We’ve got lots of opportunities here.’
Mr Andrews said the NSW decision was a ringing endorsement of the state’s ability to manage and suppress COVID-19 outbreaks.
Victoria’s other border with SA is also set to be relaxed in a fortnight, while Queensland is unmoved on its timeline to reassess its ban at the end of the month.
Melbourne’s new case average has also dropped further to 1.4, while the city’s mystery cases to Monday remain at two and the corresponding figures for regional Victoria remain zero.
The state had just 20 active infections on Thursday and the national death toll remains at 907.
Meanwhile, Carols by Candlelight announced it would go ahead without a crowd for the first time in the Melbourne Christmas event’s 83-year history.
A group of friends have a drink at Footscray Park, one of the few vantage spots to provide a view of the Melbourne Cup. Groups of ten people can currently gather outdoors in parks