Victoria moves closer to officially eliminating coronavirus after 24 days with no new cases - ABC News  11/22/2020 21:48:50 

Victoria has recorded no new cases of coronavirus or deaths for the 24th day in a row, and is now within reach of officially eliminating the virus.

  • The health department says 7,261 tests have been received since the last update
  • Epidemiologist Tony Blakely says Victorians should feel confident they've eliminated the virus
  • The Victoria-New South Wales border has reopened meaning travellers don't have to quarantine

One case remains active in the state.

The Department of Health and Human Services said 7,261 tests had been received since the last update.

Melbourne University epidemiologist Tony Blakely said Victoria was edging closer every day to eliminating the virus.

"Twenty-eight days is the official or working definition (of elimination) and that will happen on Thursday or Friday depending on how you count it and that will be our celebration of elimination day," Professor Blakely said.

"What weve also learned is that we have to expect that it will get back in at some point between now and when we get the vaccine but were learning to live with this virus and stamp it out."


Professor Blakely said Victorians should feel confident it had eliminated the virus, even though the number of people getting tested had dropped.

He said the widespread sewage testing being carried out would identify any areas where there may be active cases.

"Most of the results that come up at the moment will be what we call 'false positives' and thats because we don't think there is any community transmission out there, so any positive tests are likely to be someone infected a long time ago, shedding."

Victoria-NSW border reopens

Travellers have begun taking advantage of the reopening of the New South Wales-Victoria border, which has been closed for four-and-a-half months.

The border officially opened at 12.01am, meaning people no longer have to go through two weeks of quarantine.

Mark Nochete is a registered nurse who is returning to NSW this morning for the first time in months.

"I came in August to help out with all the COVID in the nursing homes and now I can go back without quarantine," he said.

Mr Nochete said he heard some horror stories about the NSW hotel quarantine arrangements and was happy to avoid being confined for two weeks.

"Some colleagues, they did quarantine in Darwin just to avoid New South Wales quarantine," he said.

A photo of Lesley Lees at Melbourne Airport.
Lesley Lees is happy she can now visit her sick father in Victoria without having to go through two weeks of quarantine.(ABC News: Stephanie Ferrier)

Lesley Lees has been in Victoria visiting her father, who is recovering from coronavirus, and was glad she didn't have to go through a fortnight of hotel quarantine when she returns to NSW.

"Obviously now I can come and visit my father when I need to without having to worry about when I can get home," she said.

Ms Lees was expecting bigger queues at Melbourne Airport this morning, given how long many people had waited for the border to reopen.

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