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No new coronavirus cases in Victoria

Victoria has no new COVID 19 cases
Photo: Victoria now virus-free for three weeks
Victoria has recorded no new coronavirus cases or deaths for a third week, as it looks to recommence its hotel quarantine program.

Victoria will resume its hotel quarantine program in just over a fortnight, as the state marks three weeks without a new COVID-19 case or death.

A government spokeswoman on Friday confirmed the state will begin receiving international arrivals from December 7, with an initial cap of 160 travellers per day.

The program was suspended in June and an inquiry was called after multiple coronavirus outbreaks were linked to infection control breaches among workers at the Rydges and Stamford Plaza hotels.

The outbreaks sparked Victoria's second wave, which resulted in more than 18,000 infections and 800 deaths.
Now, there are just two active cases.

The hotel quarantine inquiry has made 69 interim recommendations to improve the program, including allowing some returned travellers to quarantine at home.

The spokeswoman said the government will release further details about the "reset" program and its response to the interim report of the inquiry "soon".

Education minister James Merlino said on Friday a weak positive test result reported to the health department late Thursday was being investigated and may be a case of virus shedding.

"This case has no identified links to known coronavirus cases and is not symptomatic," he told reporters.

The possible case, a woman in her 80s, is most likely a false positive and will be reviewed by experts, he said.

Mr Merlino urged Victorians to remain cautious as the state announces its final step out of restrictions on Sunday.

"Ultimately we want complete normality but that will be when we have a vaccine and it is distributed across all of us," he said.

"We've just got to be vigilant because we are not out of this."

Some 18,474 Victorians were tested for the virus on Thursday, bringing the total testing figure to more than 3.4 million.

The virus-free results continue for Victoria as a "hard border" with SA came into effect overnight.

It will remain in place until Sunday when a permit system is implemented.

The 48-hour shutdown was prompted by the unexpected detection of virus fragments in wastewater at the regional Victorian centres of Benalla and Portland.

Both locations are along freight corridors, and the results emerged amid Adelaide's growing cluster.

Residents of Benalla and Portland, as well as anyone who visited them between Sunday and Tuesday and who has any symptoms, are urged to get tested and isolate until receiving their result.

Victoria's Deputy Chief Health Officer Allan Cheng said the virus fragments could be from an active infection or a recovered case.

Under the hard border, only freight drivers, those with medical or emergency reasons, and people authorised by law, such as child protection officers, will be able to cross.

More than 300 police will patrol the Victorian side of the SA border, from Mildura to Portland.

It's the first time Victoria has shut its border to any state during the pandemic.

Opposition health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier said Victorian residents near the SA border were confused about the implications of the closure.

She called on Premier Daniel Andrews to give border communities clarity.

She also queried why the government's initial international arrival cap of 160 was so low compared to other states, and asked for assurances about the safety of the revised program.

The state's virus death toll stands at 819, with the national figure 907.

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