COVID-19 rules will relax further across south-west Victoria from tomorrow night.
At a press conference on Wednesday morning, acting premier James Merlino announced a suite of changes for the entire state, providing there are no further mystery cases in the next 24 hours.
The changes are expected to be introduced at 11.59pm on Thursday.
There was just one new COVID-19 case confirmed yesterday, which was closely linked to another existing case.
Melbourne's heavy lockdown is lifted but a 25km travel bubble remains, meaning metro residents cannot head into the regions for the Queen's Birthday long weekend.
Given there has not been a case in regional Victoria throughout the latest outbreak that now sits at 83, rules will be significantly more relaxed.
Regional Victorian rules
The following changes have been made to the current restrictions in regional Victoria.
- Visitors to your home are restricted to two adults per day, plus dependents
- People at public gatherings are limited to 20 people
- 150 people are allowed at a hospitality venue for seated service, but only 75 indoors
- Religious ceremonies are capped at 150 people, 75 indoors
- Funerals can have 75 people, weddings can have 20 people
- Gyms can reopen
- Offices capped at 50 per cent for work
- Community sport, including indoor sport, can resume for all ages
- Mask rules remain the same; must be worn indoors
Metropolitan Melbourne rules
Most of the same settings currently in place in regional Victoria will now exist for at least a week in Melbourne, but the 10km travel limit now sits at 25km.
Travel into regional Victoria has been banned.
The following rules now apply to Melbourne:
- you can leave home for any reason (but must stay within 25km and not venture into regional Victoria)
- travel within regional Victoria is allowed
- all schools to reopen to face-to-face learning
- outdoor gatherings can have 10 people
- hospitality is open for seated service only, with only 50 people allowed and density quotient of 1 person per 4 square metres
- retail can reopen where masks can be worn
- religious services open to 50 people
- weddings resume with 10 people, funerals resume with 50
- junior sport resumes, adult sport resume training. Indoor sport is not allowed
- outdoor pools and libraries open to 50 people
- offices will be capped at 50 per cent
Acting Victorian premier James Merlino said the metro-regional divide was expected to lift in a week.
"This is a good day," he said.
"Everyone should be absolutely proud of what we have all achieved together.
"But we know this isn't over yet, and until we have widespread vaccinations across Victoria and across our country, the virus will still be with us.
"We can't let complacency creep in, and I am asking everyone to keep doing the right thing; follow the rules, check-in, get tested if you are feeling unwell."
Hopes rise for easing of COVID rules as just one new case is recorded
Earlier, 9am: Victoria has recorded just onenew COVID case overnight as the entire state awaits an announcement on the further easing of restrictions.
The new case confirmed in the 24 hours until midnight last night has been closely linked to previous cases, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
The low number of positive cases is now highly likely to result in the easing of restrictions at 11.59pm on Thursday night.
There were 28,845 tests returned yesterday and 19,533 vaccinations administered.
Melbourne's strict two-week lockdown is expected to end, while regional Victoria is likely to have restrictions eased even further.
The 10km limit on travel from home is likely to be extended to 25km after Acting Premier James Merlino flagged Melbourne residents will be unable to enter regional Victoria over the Queen's Birthday long weekend.
"It remains the public health advice that for a period of time we will have different settings between regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne," Mr Merlino told reporters on Tuesday.
"That will extend beyond any announcements that we will make later in the week.
"There is very good reasons for that. We absolutely want to run this into the ground and ensure that there's no risk of this spreading out into regional Victoria."
A final decision on eased restrictions for Melbourne and regional Victoria is expected to be finalised on Wednesday morning.
IN OTHER NEWS
It comes as authorities investigate a link between an outbreak of the more infectious Delta strain and a hotel quarantine case, a man in his 40s, who returned from Sri Lanka on May 8.
Genomic sequencing shows his infection is identical to one of two families linked to the North Melbourne Primary School, which has emerged as the epicentre of the West Melbourne outbreak.
How the virus spread between the two groups remains a mystery.
Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said there were four main theories, with the most likely being the man transmitted the virus to a staff member while in transit or to a fellow guest inside one of the hotels.
It may have then entered the community.
Emma Cassar, the head of COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, said the man also mistakenly opened his room door soon after entering hotel quarantine but she doesn't believe the incident is responsible for the virus escaping.
Victoria's deadly second wave of coronavirus last year was sparked from leaks in hotel quarantine, leading to a major overhaul of the hotel quarantine system.
The state reported two new cases on Tuesday, with one linked to the West Melbourne outbreak and the other the Arcare Maidstone cluster.
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