That’s all we have for you tonight everyone.
Thanks so much for joining us again and we will be back with another COVID-19 blog early tomorrow morning.
Before I go, here is a quick look at some of the major developments today:
Government to end lockdown, ease restrictions
Queensland COVID-19 scare as Victorian travels through state
Let pharmacists join vaccine rollout says Pharmacists Guild
Unions say mandatory vaccines a ‘smoke screen’ when supplies are low
What the new coronavirus rules mean for Victorians
We really appreciate all your support during this latest version of the COVID-19 live blog and we will look forward to seeing you all again tomorrow.
Have a great evening and bye for now.
Residents in several Bendigo suburbs are being asked to urgently monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested if any develop after viral fragments were detected in a wastewater sample from a sub-catchment north-west of the town.
The Chief Health Officer alert on Wednesday night said the detection might be due to someone shedding the virus who is no longer infectious, but it could also be from someone who is an undiagnosed case.
Meanwhile, Victorian, Queensland and NSW health authorities are working together to retrace the travels of a Victorian woman who travelled by road from Victoria to Queensland with her partner and who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Queensland and NSW authorities listed a number of regional locations on their exposure site lists on Wednesday afternoon and the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s update on Wednesday night revealed an emergency meeting of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee had happened over the case with more investigations to come.
“Victorian health authorities are working closely with Queensland and NSW counterparts regarding COVID-19 exposure in those states,” the statement said.
“An emergency meeting of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee was held this evening and further investigations are underway. Any critical information will be provided to the public as soon as possible when case interviews for any potential Victorian exposure sites can commence.”
The Victorian Department of Health has added 18 new entries to the official COVID-19 exposure sites list, all of them related to shifts worked at the Arcare Maidstone aged care facility.
All the entries relate to shifts worked between 7am on May 26 until 11.59pm on June 5 in the Magnolia Unit at the facility.
All the entries are listed as tier-one exposures, meaning any staff or contractors in those areas during those periods need to get a COVID-19 test and quarantine for 14 days.
Recent arrivals to Western Australia from Queensland and New South Wales are being told to isolate and get tested if they visited any exposure sites linked to a new COVID-19 case.
Queensland Health put out an alert on Wednesday after a woman who travelled to the Sunshine Coast from Melbourne via New South Wales tested positive to the virus.
WA Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said recent arrivals from both eastern states should check if they had been to any exposure sites listed by his state counterparts.
UPDATED: A learning centre in North Melbourne has been added to Victoria’s list of official exposure sites this evening.
Kumon, on Buncle Street, has been added as a tier-2 location, meaning anyone who was there between 5.45pm and 6.15pm on May 27 should isolate until they test negative for COVID-19.
The after-school service operates out of North Melbourne Community Centre, which is very close to some of the high-rise public housing towers that were locked down without notice during last year’s second wave of COVID-19.
It is only the third site to be added on Wednesday, following the listing of a Maribyrnong pool and a South Melbourne deli, also tier-2 sites. Only one new exposure site was added on Tuesday.
The official tally of Victorian coronavirus exposure sites has now dropped to 162, well below its peak of over 370 locations late last week and from about 200 on Tuesday evening as health authorities remove many older listings as primary close contacts start to emerge from isolation.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley told reporters at today’s COVID-19 press conference that the number of exposure sites would continue to fall as more primary close contacts completed their 14-days in isolation and exited quarantine.
You can check all the current exposure sites on our searchable map that has been updated with all the recent changes.
UPDATED: The Victorian government has announced that COVID-19 restrictions will ease from 11.59pm on Thursday.
Acting Premier James Merlino has announced that schools will return to on-site learning this Friday.
“All students will be back at school on Friday, in terms of the government system. There is no pupil-free day on Friday, students will be back at school,” Mr Merlino said.
Below you’ll find a building list of what we know about the new rules.
Please check back regularly as this story will be updated to reflect new information.
NSW Health has added two more venues to its list of exposure sites for the Victorian couple who drove through NSW to Queensland earlier this month.
NSW Health listed Dubbo Shell Petrol Station, corner of Victoria and Whylandra Streets on June 2 between 10.30am to 11.30am and Woolworths Moree, 215 Balo Street on June 3 between 3.30pm and 4.30pm.
Anyone who was at those places during those times is asked by NSW Health to get a COVID-19 test and isolate until receiving further advice from NSW Health.
The couple made stops at Gillenbah, Forbes, Dubbo and Moree including signing into several venues using QR codes.
Infectious diseases paediatricians and vaccine experts anticipate the Pfizer shot could be approved for use in Australian children as young as 12 before the end of the year.
However, it could be many months after the expected approval of the COVID-19 vaccine by the country’s Therapeutic Goods Administration before children and adolescents will be asked to roll up their sleeves.
Paediatric Infectious Diseases specialist Christopher Blyth said on Wednesday the emergence of highly contagious variants in Australia meant it was more important to get as many people vaccinated as possible, including children and adolescents.
He said Australia would probably follow a similar path to North America, Britain and Israel, where Pfizer has been approved for use in children aged 12 to 15.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the interception of three Melbourne residents who attempted to travel to the country shows their system works.
Australia and NZ still have their travel bubble in place but travel from Melbourne has been paused during the current COVID-19 outbreak which is reportedly why the three people travelled to Sydney and flew to Auckland from there.
The New Zealand Herald reported the family were trying to attend a funeral.
They were identified upon arrival and send into 14-day quarantine with authorities reporting they had tested negative to COVID-19 on their first test.
Ms Ardern said the situations showed her country’s system worked and she hoped it would discourage others from trying to travel the same route.
“For anyone considering breaching the rules that we have in place, you see in this case the family has been picked up and they have been put into a managed isolation facility, so there are consequences,” Ms Ardern said.
“As for fines, those decisions sit elsewhere.”
G’day everyone! It’s Roy Ward here and I’m on an unusually short stint on the blog tonight after Hanna Mills Turbet and Mathew Dunckley have done all the hard yards today.
There still seems some news around tonight after the late news of a COVID-19 case in Queensland so I’ll be here for the next little while.