Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

Victoria’s COVID-19 case continues to decline, with the state recording the lowest daily increase in nearly two weeks.

On Monday, the National Board of Health confirmed that something had happened 1007 cases for 24 hours until midnight.

There were also three more COVID-related deaths.

Hospital admissions in the state remain stable at 300, of which 45 are in the intensive care unit and 17 in the respirator.

Victoria crossed a major vaccination threshold last week, and nearly 91 percent of all people over the age of 12 are now fully vaccinated.

1,061 cases were recorded on Sunday, 1252 on Saturday, 1362 on Friday and 1254 on Thursday.

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International quarantine changes

Victoria, meanwhile, will send all international arrivals on home quarantine for 72 hours following the international arrival of Omicron.

It has not been detected in Victoria, but state health chief Brett Sutton says safety measures are needed so authorities can measure the health response required by the new variant.

Key questions about Omicron’s transmissibility, whether it results in milder or more serious illness and the effectiveness of vaccines have not yet been answered.

“It certainly seems to have spread very rapidly in southern Africa,” he said Sunday.

Two people are seen hugging each other after one arrives from a plane from Melbourne in Adelaide.
Two people are seen hugging each other after one arrives from a plane from Melbourne in Adelaide. Credit: MORGAN SETTE/AAPIMAGE

“It will probably be a very transferable variant, but we will have greater clarity about it in the coming days and weeks.”

As the number of cases increases in southern Africa, hospitalizations will help show how serious the variant is, and Dr. Sutton said there had already been cases of vaccinated and previously infected people receiving Omicron.

“But that’s also true for Delta, so we really need a few more weeks to understand,” he said.

“So it makes sense for us to take the caution … and hopefully temporary approach that many other countries around the world have taken.”

Newcomers to the state, who have recently been to one of nine South African countries, will now be quarantined at a hotel for 14 days under federal government regulations.

These countries are Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, the Seychelles and Zimbabwe.

Anyone already in Victoria who has been to these countries within the last 14 days must also be tested and isolated for two weeks.

Victoria’s health department says only a “very small” number of people are in that category.

The requirement for a three-day home quarantine for international arrivals is in line with changes announced by NSW and ACT overnight.

The Victorian government warns that orders could be extended.

– With AAP

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