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Victoria opens $200m quarantine camp even as COVID numbers continue to decline

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Victoria has added 4867 new infections to its COVID-19 caseload along with a further nine virus-related deaths.

The latest drop in the state’s pandemic casualties comes as the first cohort of unvaccinated international travellers will be checked into a newly-built $200 million quarantine hub on Monday.

The facility, at Mickleham in Melbourne’s north, will replace hotels and become Victoria’s only quarantine site from April.

“The Omicron variant has shown us we must continue to be flexible in our pandemic response – and the purpose-built Victorian Quarantine Hub will be vital to how we manage pandemics today and into the future,” Police Minister Lisa Neville said during a visit on Saturday.

Quarantine Victoria Commissioner Emma Cassar says the hub’s open-air setting will eliminate many of the challenges hotel quarantine posed.

Able to accommodate up to 1000 residents, its standalone cabins allow for constant fresh air flow, individual ventilation systems and CCTV monitoring.

Minimal human contact

Guests will have access to in-house electronic food ordering and entertainment to minimise contact between residents and the site’s 560 staff.

The hub’s cabin-style accommodation includes entry and exit points via outdoor decks to prevent the virus spreading through shared corridors.

The site is split into four villages, with all services and amenities delivered directly onside to limit unnecessary internal or external movement.

Staff are being trained on-site, with other final preparations underway including stress-testing all systems to ensure infection prevention and control processes are in place.

Victorians meanwhile continue to enjoy the freedom to visit nightclubs and other dance venues, following the easing of restrictions on Friday.

Health authorities say the state continues to manage more than 46,700 active coronavirus cases, down from 48,420 reported on Saturday.There are 358 COVID patients currently in Victorian hospitals, 51 of them in ICUs and a dozen who require ventilation.

Of the new cases recorded in the 24 hours to Saturday evening, 3141 were the results of rapid antigen tests and 1726 were reported via PCR lab tests.

-AAP

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