Victoria hits 36 days without any new COVID-19 cases

Victoria has recorded 36 days in a row without any new coronavirus cases, with changes to mask rules and the relaxing of other measures expected to be announced on Sunday.

There were no additional deaths reported on Saturday morning, and 7670 COVID-19 tests were completed across Friday.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told a state parliamentary committee on Friday afternoon that Victoria was ultimately moving to a “phase where there is even more limited use of masks in public”.

But Professor Sutton said his advice that would underpin Sunday’s announcement had not yet been "framed definitively".

“We are clearly moving through a phase where the utility of masks becomes less and less and we have changed the advice on mask wearing from universal mask wearing indoors and outdoors to primarily focused on wearing indoors,” he said.

“That’s the current state of advice, as well as where it is impossible or where one is unable to appropriately physically distance when outside."

The impending announcement by Premier Daniel Andrews is likely to provide the blueprint for Victoria's 'COVID-normal summer', and has been foreshadowed as the last major announcement of eased restrictions.

Office workers have been allowed to return to their desks in limited numbers since Monday with greater numbers of workplaces expected to return in stages early in the new year.

The Victorian public service, which has more than 30,000 staff at many sites across metropolitan Melbourne, is expected to begin a phased return to on-site work from mid-January and the main workplace union, the CPSU, told The Age that it expected masks to be mandatory whenever workers were indoors.

Health Minister Martin Foley told the public accounts and estimates committee that the current State of Emergency, which was set to expire on Sunday, would be extended to enable the enforcement of the new hotel quarantine regime from Monday.

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