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Victoria has reached the extraordinary milestone of no new COVID-19 cases and no further deaths for 14 consecutive days in the wake of its catastrophic second coronavirus wave.
"There are just three active cases across the state and no new cases. That's the 14th day in a row of no new cases across our state," Premier Daniel Andrews said on Friday morning.
It comes after 12,001 Victorians were tested for the virus on Thursday.
The state's 14-day rolling case average has now dropped to zero, hitting the target about 10 days earlier than the state government's original modelling.
It is a milestone that is likely to put pressure on the Andrews government to fast track the easing of more restrictions as the weather heats up.
The government's road map out of lockdown states that Victoria will take the last step towards COVID-normal when the state records no new cases for more than 14 days. Its original modelling predicted that this milestone would not be achieved until about November 23.
Under the initial plan, public gatherings were set to increase to 50 people outdoors and up to 20 visitors a time in homes.
The government's updated plan scaled back the number of people allowed in homes to 10 visitors but maintains gatherings of 50 people outdoors.
Weddings and funerals would be allowed with 100 people or 10 in a private residence and organised contacts sports would resume for all ages with limitations for spectators.
When asked on Thursday about the possibility of bringing forward announcements about the easing of restrictions, Health Minister Martin Foley said the government wanted to take "a careful cautious approach".
"Each step of the way, has been marked and run by data and science, and that will continue," he said.
Back in September, health experts expressed doubt that Victoria would hit the hard targets for reopening before Christmas.
Professor Jodie McVernon, the director of epidemiology at Melbourne's Doherty Institute, warned The Age at the time that requiring zero cases for a fortnight would be difficult to achieve. She said she was heartened by the fact that it did not appear to be a hard target.
"If they were, I would be very concerned that we might never reach them," Professor McVernon said.
More to come.
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