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Vic records no new local COVID-19 cases

Victoria has had a second-straight day with no new local COVID-19 cases.

Testing in the 24 hours to midnight on Tuesday also shot up from 13,000 to 28,267 and 17,279 vaccine jabs were administered.

It’s the seventh consecutive day the state has recorded either zero or one new local case, while the number of exposure sites has dropped to 96.

Health authorities are expected to unveil easier COVID-19 restrictions after the state effectively shut its border to seven Sydney municipalities.

Over the past three Wednesdays, the state government has announced regional Victoria and Melbourne would move to more relaxed rules as its lockdown-inducing outbreaks wind down.

Acting Premier James Merlino refused to foreshadow if that could be the case again, although Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he has “strong expectations” the state could take the next step later this week.

“We’re absolutely on the right track,” he said on Tuesday.

Professor Sutton added it was likely fewer differences in rules for regional Victoria and Melbourne would remain.

He flagged good news was on the way for larger guest lists at weddings this weekend, but would not be drawn on whether crowds would be allowed at AFL, A-League and NBL games.

Late on Tuesday, Prof Sutton declared seven Sydney local government areas “red zones”. under Victoria’s travel permit system, after the harbour city’s COVID-19 outbreak intensified.

The move effectively banned residents from the municipalities of the City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick from entering Victoria from Wednesday.

“If you enter at an airport or seaport from a red zone without a permit, you will be fined and will stay in hotel quarantine until return transport is arranged,” the Health Department said.

Victorian residents who have been in a red zone – other than for transit – can still return to the state with a permit but must self-isolate at home for 14 days.

Wollongong has been listed as an orange zone, meaning incoming travellers to Victoria must get tested soon after arrival and isolate until they receive a negative result.

Non-essential travel into Victoria from red or orange zones is being strongly discouraged.

However, Victorians are being welcomed back to other states in time for the southern state’s school holiday period.

South Australia and Queensland will reopen their borders to Victoria from Friday.

Tasmania and the Northern Territory have opened their borders to Greater Melbourne, while a travel bubble with New Zealand resumes from Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the north Melbourne suburb of Mickleham could be the site of a new standalone quarantine facility, ahead of Avalon.

The state and federal governments signed a memorandum of understanding to build the facility on June 4.

According to The Herald Sun, Mickleham will host the $200 million facility because it can be built quicker there.

Mickleham had been Victoria’s preferred option, while the federal government had preferred Avalon near Geelong.

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