Hides freedoms, office returns as Vic’s COVID-free days stretch to eight

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Victoria’s health director said it was safe for some workers to return to their desks from next week after an outbreak in the new year interrupted the return to workplaces.

As of Monday, the Victorian Civil Service will return to office at 25 percent of its capacity and other workplaces may increase up to 50 percent.

From midnight Sunday, the mandatory mask rules will be relaxed to the pre-Christmas rules.

This means that masks remain mandatory on flights, public transport, taxis and ride-sharing vehicles, supermarkets and large indoor shopping malls. They will no longer be mandatory in offices, but it is recommended to wear them where physical distance is not possible.

This came as the state recorded no new coronavirus infections in the community or quarantined in hotels, on the eighth day in a row with no locally acquired cases in the state.

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There were 16,533 test results processed on Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

There are now 29 active cases of COVID-19 in Victoria, including people in hotel quarantine.

Meanwhile, health authorities have ordered anyone in Victoria who completed their 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine at the Grand Chancellor Hotel in Brisbane on or after December 30, to immediately isolate and contact the coronavirus hotline.

The council comes as Queensland authorities deal with a cluster of six hotel-linked UK COVID-19 strain cases, including a housekeeper, her partner and four guests.

The areas of greater Brisbane remain a “red zone” and under Victoria’s recent traffic light permit system, people who were in the areas of greater Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Redlands, Logan and South ‘Ipswich are banned from entering without exemption.

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“Previously, we asked travelers to verify if they had been to these areas of Queensland on or after January 2, 2021. However, that public health notice has changed based on new information from Queensland health authorities regarding the B.1.1.7 lineage group in their hotel quarantine program, ”the alert read Wednesday evening.

DHHS said authorities were working on 11,095 applications from people in designated red zones seeking entry into Victoria.

Since restrictions on the Victoria-New South Wales border began around New Years Eve, 1,320 exemptions have been granted and four requests have been rejected.

Nearly 5,000 applications had been received from people in the Greater Brisbane Red Zone.

The View on St Kilda Road is one of three hotels used to quarantine tennis players and support teams. Photo: TBEN

Australian Open players and staff must arrive

More than 1,200 international players and support staff will start arriving in Melbourne on Thursday ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in February.

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Players must return a negative COVID-19 test before departing on any of the 15 charter flights for the Grand Slam event.

The Victorian government has called his pre-tournament quarantine “the strictest program in the world.”

Players and staff will be staying at three Melbourne hotels and must adhere to strict rules, including daily testing and supervised training.

Tennis commentator Todd Woodbridge said players were eager for the tournament to begin.

“I think everyone is a little nervous. The players understand the enormity of what has been offered to them, ”he said.

“They are very aware of the rules that the government has put in place, and they are very grateful for that because the opportunity to play is huge.

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