Victoria has recorded no new coronavirus cases for an eighth consecutive day, amid growing fears about returned travellers infected with the highly-contagious UK strain.
No new cases from community transmissions or hotel quarantine were recorded from 16,533 tests conducted on Wednesday.
Health authorities remain on high alert, amid fears an outbreak of the UK mutant strain at a quarantine hotel in Brisbane may have spread interstate.
Victoria recorded no coronavirus cases for a eighth consecutive day on Thursday. Pictured are healthcare workers at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne, which will welcome the arrival of Australian Open players and officials in the coming days
Anyone who completed mandatory hotel quarantine at Brisbane’s Grand Chancellor Hotel on or after December 30 and have since arrived Victoria is ordered to self-isolate and immediately contact the state’s coronavirus hotline.
They must get tested and quarantine at home until they receive a negative result.
‘The Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Greater Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Redlands, Logan, Ipswich will continue to remain in the in the red zone and travel to Victoria will not be permitted without an exemption, exception or permitted worker permit,’ Victoria’s Department of Health and Human services added in a statement.
‘Anyone who has arrived into Victoria from one of these LGA since 30 December must get tested and quarantine at home until they receive a negative result.’
Travel from the other ‘red zone’, Greater Sydney, also remains banned, with the state government defending its tough border restrictions.
Anyone who completed hotel quarantine at Brisbane’s Grand Chancellor hotel (pictured on Wednesday) on or after December 30 and have since arrived Victoria is ordered to self-isolate
New South Wales has issued a similar health alert, urging anyone who had been at the hotel since December 30, as a returned traveller or worker, to immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.
The cluster linked to the Brisbane hotel currently stands at six which includes four quarantining guests, a cleaner and her partner.
The Grand Chancellor Hotel is now closed for deep cleaning after 129 quarantined guests were moved to alternative accommodation on Wednesday night after two guests on the same floor mysteriously caught the virus.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk admitted on Wednesday the cluster is of national concern.
There are currently 29 active cases of coronavirus across Victoria.
Meanwhile, the first of 1200 tennis players, support crew and officials are expected to arrive in Melbourne on Thursday night for next month’s Australian Open.
They must quarantine at one of three Australian Open-dedicated hotels for two weeks ahead of the first tennis grand slam for 2021.
UK’s mutant Covid strain explained
The highly infectious mutant strain of Covid now has 27 variations after it was first identified in Kent County, England, on September 21.
It now represents more than 50% of new cases diagnosed between October and Dec, making it the most common strain of Covid in England presently.
The deadly strain is believed to be more contagious and affects children worse than the original, prompting the government to plunge England back into its third nationwide lockdown.
The new variant is between 50 per cent and 74 per cent more contagious than the last, but is not necessarily any more deadly.