Hotel quarantine, international flights set to resume as Victoria records no new COVID-19 cases

Victoria has recorded no new coronavirus cases for the 27th consecutive day, as the Victorian government gets ready to welcome international flights and resume hotel quarantine within the next fortnight.

The government is expected to announce the resumption of international flights to Victoria within the next fortnight on Thursday morning, along with a revamped hotel quarantine program to house the returned travellers.

Biosecurity and airport staff in PPE and masks around a chartered flight that arrived in Melbourne in January. Credit:Getty Images

Passenger flights have not touched down in Melbourne since Valentine’s Day, when the Holiday Inn cluster grew to almost 25 cases and prompted a snap five-day lockdown.

Victoria has now recorded almost four weeks without a local COVID-19 infection. The state has been free of active coronavirus cases since Tuesday.

On Wednesday, 15,446 tests were processed and there were 4385 vaccination doses administered. There have been 63,894 jabs given in the first four weeks of the vaccine program.

The government on Thursday is also expected to release details into a review of the breaches that led to the February lockdown.

Flights will once again arrive into the city within the next fortnight, multiple government sources speaking on the condition of anonymity said.

It follows reviews into ventilation at the state’s quarantine hotels and the risk of new, more infectious strains of coronavirus being completed.

Quarantine hotels in Melbourne are expected to remain the primary accommodation for returned travellers, given Victoria’s planned purpose-built quarantine facility will take a minimum of six months to build.

The government is planning to build a quarantine facility outside the city in a bid to reduce the risk of COVID-19 seeping into metropolitan communities.

Ten sites, including Avalon Airport, are under consideration.

Coronavirus restrictions are set to ease further in Victoria on Friday, with masks no longer mandatory at supermarkets, hardware stores and large shopping centres.

Victorians will also be able to have up to 100 people visit their home every day, up from the previous limit of 30.

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