Restrictions to ease in Victoria

Coronavirus restrictions in Melbourne and regional Victoria will further ease as it's revealed a vaccinated nurse is among those infected in a residential complex cluster.

Restrictions to ease in Victoria

Coronavirus restrictions in Melbourne and regional Victoria will further ease as it's revealed a vaccinated nurse is among the latest infections.

Victoria's Acting Premier James Merlino confirmed the 25 kilometre travel radius is among the restrictions that will be relaxed at 11.59pm tomorrow, allowing free movement between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Testing Commander Jeroen Weimar said health authorities were "very concerned" after learning a vaccinated nurse had tested positive, and may have been infectious while working at Epping Private Hospital on June 14.

"There is a full, instant response team working through the circumstances," he said.

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The nurse is among the state's five new cases.

She had looked after three Arcare aged care residents.

Another two were detected in adult men at a Southbank apartment complex which is currently in lockdown after multiple cases have emerged.

Two further cases are in a family at the Kings Park building in Southbank.

'Victoria is at its best when we are together'

Mr Merlino said the restrictions in Melbourne were able to be loosened on advice from the Chief Health Officer.

"We have been waiting to see those people and places that we love," he said.

Public gatherings will be allowed with up to 20 people and private household gatherings will be permitted with up to two visitors to a home per day plus dependents.

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Venues including gyms, indoor entertainment venues and electronic gaming will be able to reopen.

Patron caps will also increase for restaurants and cafes, religious settings and entertainment venues.

Hospitality venues will be able to host up to 25 people before applying the density limit.

Public gatherings will be allowed with up to 20 people and private household gatherings will be permitted with up to two visitors to a home per day plus dependents.

Venues including gyms, indoor entertainment venues and electronic gaming will be able to reopen.

Patron caps will also increase for restaurants and cafes, religious settings and entertainment venues.

Hospitality venues will be able to host up to 25 people before applying the density limit.

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People should continue to work from home if possible, but office workers can return with a 50 per cent capacity or up to 20 people, whichever is greater.

Competition for community sport can return for both juniors and adults. However, no spectators will be allowed.

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Masks will no longer be required outdoors, however they are still recommended where you cannot maintain at least a 1.5-metre distance from others.

"Everyone must continue to wear them indoors, whether that's shopping, on the train or at your workplace," Mr Merlino said.

The acting premier said he expects to announce further easing of restrictions next week.

"We are making positive progress with the announcements we are making, both for regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne."

Some AFL crowds to return

Mr Merlino said AFL crowds would not return to Melbourne this week.

Western Bulldogs or Cats fans from neighbouring areas will be able to attend in Geelong if they are club members.

"I know that football is something on a lot of people's minds," he said.

"While we can't have the crowds back in Melbourne just yet, we will be able to get some people along to the game in Geelong on Friday.

Tom Hawkins Geelong Cats

"We will work with the AFL and clubs to allow a crowd of up to 7000 people from the regions."

Mr Merlino said health authorities were working with other sporting codes to ease restrictions and allow fans at future games.

Regional Victoria restrictions ease

Restrictions will also ease in regional Victoria from 11.59pm tomorrow.

Visitors to homes will be increased to five adults per day, plus dependents.

Public gatherings will be increased to 50 people. Restaurants and cafes can open to a maximum of 300 patrons per venue for seated service and smaller venues can host up to 25 people before any density limit applies.

Funerals will be limited to 100 mourners and weddings will be capped at 50 people.

While office workers will be able to return to work at a 75 per cent capacity or 30 people, whichever is greater.

New safety measures for snow holidays

Melburnians who wish to travel to regional alpine resorts for the snow season must return a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departing, under a strict new safety measure.

"We want to keep regional Victoria free of this virus," Mr Merlino said.

"That's why the public health team have recommended slightly stronger settings for metropolitan Melbourne as extra protection as we run down these remaining cases.

Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said the mountains had the potential to be "high-risk" environments.

"A single case infectious on the mountain would be a potential super-spreader event," he said.

"It is essentially how it spread across Europe in March last year."

Patrons line up to get on the ski lift at Mt Buller Ski Resort earlier this week.

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Regional Victoria was able to move to more "liberal settings" as no transmission had been detected in the regions, Professor Sutton said.

While the "risk is greater" in metropolitan Melbourne.

"That is where transmission is still occurring," he said.

"There will be people travelling from metro Melbourne, as you would expect, into regional Victoria, so we still need some of those constraints in terms of the size of gatherings in various settings, in various locations to be able to manage the risk should a case occur there."

The state was not ready to "snap back to COVID-normal".

"We're not at that stage yet," Professor Sutton said.

"We are moving by safe and steady increments with a view to continuing to ease restrictions as we go along, as we run down these last few cases."

Victoria records five new local cases

The state's new coronavirus cases include two men at the Kings Park Southbank townhouse complex.

One is the vaccinated nurse who may have worked at a private hospital while infectious.

The other two cases are from a family of four living in the complex.

They were previously close contacts as the other two family members had already been diagnosed.

There is now a total of eight positive cases linked to the complex.

It comes as residents inside the Southbank townhouse complex were yesterday forced into lockdown after the new infections linked to the building emerged.

The Kings Park Apartment Complex on Dodds and Wells Streets in Southbank has been listed as a Tier One exposure site.

This means anyone at the complex at any time between June 2 and June 14 must quarantine for 14 days and get tested.

The complex has just over 100 apartments and has "multiple access points" into the building.

More than 380 PCR tests have been conducted at the site.

"We still have a very active response around the Kings Park in Southbank," Mr Weimar said.

He said there are significant support services for the many residents isolating.

"We are trying to make sure that we can run any remaining traces of the virus to ground in that particular complex," Mr Weimar said.

The testing station will remain onsite for the next few days. Anyone in the Southbank area can get tested there.

Mr Weimar said locking down the Kings Park complex earlier would not have necessarily prevented more cases.

He said the risk of transmission had been mitigated as those infected had restricted movement in the community over the last 10 days.

"It highlights how important the circuit breaker has been."

Mr Weimar noted the contact tracing process had been effective in identifying the cluster.

"As we did with the Arcare staff member who was the first positive case in the community, around her movements, around those primary contacts," he said.

"We did a testing blitz around her and her partner was identified.

"It was only when the second individual came forward, symptomatic, a few days ago that we identified it was a wider spread of that exposure site."

Resident Mehran Mirzaee, who lives in the complex, told Today he was shocked when he heard the building had gone into lockdown.

"I saw things changing around us and they put up some testing station and then I saw paper under my door that we've been in a Tier One exposure site," he said.

"We can't do anything about it. We probably need to respect the rules and help the community to avoid any further spread."

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Mr Mirzaee said he turned off his apartment's heating as he had concerns about the virus spreading through the air conditioning system.

"I personally freaked out and I stopped using the apartment heating system.

"I asked my friend to bring me a small heater. We all know Melbourne has cold nights."

Epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws told Today authorities had to act promptly following the discovery of the cases.

"We shouldn't be taking this lightly. I can only congratulate Victoria for shutting down when it did," Professor McLaws, from the University of NSW, said.

"It feels extreme. But if they (the cases) are very well connected, and it's an apartment block where a lot of people may socialise and know each other, it may well be important to do, like they did in North Melbourne last year.

"It's unpalatable but it is necessary."

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Mr Weimar said there was evidence of transmission of the virus in communal areas, such as shared stairwells and hallways.

Health authorities say the complex is a location they are most concerned about in the state's outbreak.

Professor McLaws said the new cases show how important it is for restrictions to be eased gradually together with a vigorous vaccination drive for younger Victorians.

"Restrictions need to be lifted really slowly and vaccination numbers need to be lifted," she said.

"The most important group at the moment is the 20- to 39-year-olds.

"They are the ones that carry most of the risk of infection. Therefore, most of the risk for transmitting it."

You can find out more details about how to book your vaccine

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