Australia

Victoria records zero new locally-acquired coronavirus cases

Victoria has recorded no new local COVID-19 cases as the state’s residents begin the first weekend since the end of their third lockdown.

There were no new local or overseas-acquired cases uncovered on Friday, with more than 17,700 tests conducted.

Just 25 active cases remain in the state.

A family of three on Thursday tested positive, more than a week after two of them stayed at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport.

Health Minister Martin Foley on Friday confirmed one of the parents and child stayed at the quarantine hotel after returning from overseas in early February.

The whole family began isolating at home on 7 February, after it was revealed a staff member at the hotel contracted the virus.

A total of 22 cases have been traced back to another family of three staying on the third floor of the Holiday Inn at the same time. They had contracted the highly-infectious UK strain of the virus overseas.

Authorities believe the outbreak began when one of the family members used a nebuliser medical device that caused the virus to spread through the air.

Fears it would spread into the community led to a five-day “circuit-breaker” lockdown, which ended on Thursday.

It comes as Austin Health, Monash Health and Western Health hospitals were chosen to distribute Victoria’s first doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Mr Foley said workers who are most likely to come into direct contact with people who could have coronavirus will be first in line for the jab.

This includes hotel quarantine workers, airport and port workers, high-risk frontline health staff and aged care staff and residents.

The federal government has allocated 12,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Victoria in the first week of the program.

About 59,000 doses are expected in the first four weeks.

Six other hospitals will also become vaccination hubs as more jabs become available. They are Albury-Wodonga Health, Ballarat Health, Barwon Health, Bendigo Health, Goulburn Valley Health and Latrobe Health.

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