Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victoria lockdown will lift from midnight as state records zero COVID-19 cases; AstraZeneca boss says vaccine safe for over-65s

Watch live: Victorian coronavirus update with Premier Daniel Andrews

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, state Health Minister Martin Foley and testing commander Jeroen Weimar are going to hold a coronavirus update at 10.15am.

It’s expected an announcement will be made about easing lockdown restrictions on Wednesday night.

You can watch the press conference live below:

The first Australian shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Australia on Monday.Credit:AAP

“Everyone wants this to be over. The job I’ve got means I don’t have the luxury, for the sake of being popular, to pretend that it is.“

Mr Andrews said testing numbers, and a day of no new cases, was vindication of the quick lockdown strategy.

“We said we wouldn’t have this lockdown on for a moment longer than we needed to,” he said.

He said the lockdown had worked.

“That’s what’s meant we’ve got zero cases today… the biggest testing day we’ve ever had in the last 12 months.”

The key numbers behind the decision to end Victoria’s five-day lockdown tonight

Mr Andrews has provided a breakdown of the key numbers that have driven the government’s decision to ease lockdown today.

  • There were 3400 close contacts identified and isolated;
  • 212,000 tests processed; and
  • 850,000 alert text messages

There were also a record number of tests – almost 40,000 – processed in the past 24 hours, all of which produced negative results.

Mr Andrews thanked Victorians for their efforts through the lockdown.

“By sticking to the rules and being conscious of who we see and how often we see them, we’ll help keep our friends and families safe,” he said.

“We can’t fully relax the rules in our hospitals and aged care homes yet either – instead, we’ll limit visits limit to one household per day and some specific exceptions.

“Masks will continue to be a big part of our defence and will be required everywhere indoors except at home – at the supermarket, at the office, at the pub when you’re getting up to pay.”

Mr Andrews said masks would also be required outside where you can’t physically distance from others.

Victoria lockdown to lift, but some restrictions to remain in place

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the state’s five-day lockdown will lift at midnight and most restrictions will be repealed, but some restrictions will remain in place.

The four reasons Victorians had to leave their homes, the five-kilometre limit on intra-state travel and the ban on visiting people’s homes have all been revoked.

But Victorians will still be required to wear a mask and continue to physically distance, especially in confined spaces. Victorians will also have visitors to their homes capped at five, not 15, as it was prior to the lockdown.

Here is a quick summary of the new rules:

“We will continue to review all of these restrictions are no foreshadowing any changes to these rules between now and Friday week,” Mr Andrews said.

“We’re not going to make them better or worse that’s – our plan is to lock these in now.“

Mr Andrews encouraged Victorians to remain vigilant.

“It’s not over. It’s not gone,” Mr Andrews said.

Mr Andrews said the government doesn’t enjoy “substantially limit[ing] movement” but it was still a tool that could be evoked in the event of a fresh outbreak.

Victoria’s five-day lockdown will end tonight: Andrews

Victoria’s “short and sharp” five-day lockdown will end at midnight tonight but some restrictions will remain, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.

“I am very pleased to announce… restrictions will come off at midnight tonight,” he said.

“I am very proud of every Victorian for the sacrifice they have made and all the people working on delivering this outcome.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announces the state’s five-day lockdown will lift at press a conference on WednesdayCredit:Nine News

The five-kilometre movement limit and four reasons to leave the house have been removed, but masks will remain mandatory in public settings.

Five visitors will be allowed in a home from midnight tonight, down from the 15 that were allowed before the circuit breaker was announced last Friday.

Public gatherings have been capped at 20 people, while public and private workplaces are allowed to have 50 per cent of their workers returning to the office.

Mr Andrews said the “circuit breaker” had worked.

That is exactly what we said we needed, that is exactly what we said would work.”

“I just want to thank all Victorians for understanding that this is about often making very difficult choices. It’s not easy. No one takes it lightly – the decision to close businesses and disrupt people’s lives.”

Mr Andrews praised the Victorians who got tested since yesterday.

“39,258 test results have been reported to us in the last 24 hours that is, I think the biggest, biggest single day of testing that we’ve done throughout the pandemic*.”

*Quick fact check: it is indeed the biggest single day of testing.

Read more.

Australian Open tickets back on sale

Tickets to the Australian Open have been readvertised after no new coronavirus cases were confirmed in Victoria on Wednesday.

Ticketmaster has listed available tickets for competition on Thursday, February 18, for the night session at Rod Laver Arena, with adult tickets ranging from $94.00 – $495.00 each.

Tennis fanatics were banned from the Australian Open for five days after the Victorian government imposed a statewide coronavirus lockdown last week.

Matches have been played without crowds during Victoria’s five-day lockdown. Credit:Eddie Jim

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