State of emergency to be extended in Victoria as NSW confirms new case was not locally transmitted

Tiffanie TurnballAAP
VideoVictorian Premier Daniel Andrews says on Sunday the will be rule changes which will be locked in for the summer season in Victoria

State of emergency powers – which are due to expire tomorrow – will be extended in Victoria as the state recorded its 36th consecutive day of zero new coronavirus cases.

Health Minister Martin Foley said the decision was based is based on "the advice of the public health team and to not do so would see the establishment of the hotel quarantine arrangements collapse on Monday".

"Hotel quarantine powers are based on the declaration of the state of emergency," he said.

It comes as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is tomorrow set to reveal the Victoria's next round of restriction changes.

Mr Andrews said earlier this week his announcement would “be good news for many people right across Victoria”.

Chief health officer Brett Sutton has already hinted mask rules will be further relaxed.

Speaking to the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee, Prof Sutton said no final decision had been made ahead of Sunday’s planned announcement on restrictions but he said Victoria was reaching a point where mandatory mask use could be further rolled back.

In NSW, health authorities have breathed a massive sigh of relief after it was confirmed the state’s first coronavirus case in 26 days was not transmitted locally.

But with the woman’s contacts still undergoing testing and hundreds potentially exposed on public transport, the state is not out of the woods yet.

Genome sequencing on Friday confirmed that the infected Sydney quarantine hotel cleaner contracted the virus at work.

A NSW Health spokesperson on Friday afternoon said the infection likely came from a US source.

The source of infection may be international aircrew who were self-isolating in the hotel at the time, they said, however investigations are continuing.

Airline crews from overseas stay in quarantine hotels before flying out again.

Testing of the woman’s contacts is continuing, but there have been no further positive results so far.

A visibly relieved Health Minister Brad Hazzard broke the good news on Friday.

“It’s a massive relief,” he told reporters.

Those who shared a train carriage with the woman are deemed close contacts and have also been asked to isolate for 14 days from their potential exposure.

A full list of affected train services and carriages is available on the NSW Health website.

The woman’s infection sparked widespread alarm on Thursday, with fears Western Australia could withdraw its promise to open its border up to NSW and Victoria from next Tuesday.

WA Premier Mark McGowan says he will take the weekend to consider the situation.

However, Queensland authorities say its borders will remain open for now after travel restrictions were lifted on Tuesday.

The woman’s case is the only local infection in the state in the past 27 days.

Had she not been diagnosed, NSW would have been considered to have eliminated the virus on Saturday.

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