Victoria has recorded no new cases of coronavirus, emboldening chances of the state’s snap five-day lockdown ending.
The Health Department on Wednesday confirmed the state reported no new COVID-19 cases on the final day of its five-day “circuit breaker” lockdown.
Almost 40,000 people were tested for the virus on Tuesday and there are 25 active cases across the state.
It comes as Victorians nervously wait to learn whether its lockdown – prompted by the UK strain of the coronavirus escaping from the Holiday Inn quarantine hotel at Melbourne Airport – will be lifted at midnight on Wednesday as planned.
Former Australian Medical Association President Tony Bartone said no late-night reports of new cases was a positive sign the shutdown would come to an end.
“It would look like we will be coming out of lockdown this evening,” Dr Bartone told Nine’s Today on Wednesday.
“Of course, any new cases especially cases which are not already linked to that cluster at the Holiday Inn and not already in isolation would obviously put a last-minute dampener on things, but perhaps looking very likely at this stage.
Senior Victorian government ministers met on Tuesday night to finalise plans to drop the lockdown, the Herald Sun reports.
A final decision was expected to be made at 8am on Wednesday when the ministers met again.
Premier Daniel Andrews warned on Tuesday it was unlikely the state would return to the old rules immediately.
“We’ll still have to get tested if we have symptoms. We’ll still have to wear masks in a number of settings. There will still be limits to the number of people that can come to your home,” Mr Andrews said.
“We are looking to get back to as close as to what that kind of resting COVID normal was, as we can. But we’ve got to do it safely.”
International flights into Melbourne have been diverted during the lockdown, and the state government has confirmed flights will not resume on Thursday.
Mr Andrews said authorities are looking at constructing purpose-built quarantine accommodation outside of central Melbourne, based on the Howard Springs facility in the Northern Territory.
It comes as COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria confirmed a “small group” of employees move between hotels and another office.
Managers, executive staff and clinical leaders work for Healthcare Australia, the group that provides medical services for “cold hotels”, travel between their St Kilda Road office and quarantine hotels on some days.
“These staff members may be required to enter a green zone in quarantine hotel to oversee HCA teams on site, but there is no requirement for them to enter a red zone or have contact with residents,” a CQV spokeswoman told AAP.
A key recommendation of Victoria’s hotel quarantine inquiry interim report stipulated that “every effort must be made to ensure that all personnel working at the facility are not working across multiple quarantine sites”.