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No new cases as Vic prepares test blitz

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Victoria is preparing to launch its first large-scale asymptomatic testing program as the state's run of no coronavirus deaths or cases continues.

On Tuesday the Department of Health and Human Services reported the 11th consecutive day without any fresh virus numbers.

The number of mystery cases to Saturday dropped from two to one and there are four active cases in the state, while 12,955 people were tested.

DHHS testing boss Jeroen Weimar has confirmed the testing blitz, saying it would not target any particular area.

"We still feel there will be traces of the virus circulating in our community," he told 3AW.

While the DHHS has done some asymptomatic testing, most samples have come from people showing virus symptoms.

Also on Tuesday, the Victorian government announced $169.6 million for free kinder next year.

It means familes save about $2000 for every child enrolled in a participating funded kindergarten program, the government said.

The government will also provide $81.6 million to increase the availability of before and after school care.

Life in Victoria is inching towards "COVID normal", with iconic institutions preparing to reopen and many Melbourne residents stuck in traffic as they rediscover the regions.

There were reports of traffic snarls on Monday as the so-called "ring of steel" separating Melbourne from regional Victoria expired at 11.59pm on Sunday, along with the 25km travel limit.

Police were still dismantling vehicle checkpoints during the day, causing some delays as passing drivers slowed to 40km/h.

It came as The National Gallery of Victoria announced it would reopen the Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square next Friday, ahead of patrons being allowed back at its main site just before Christmas.

Melbourne is slowly coming alive after almost four months of lockdown, with gyms, museums and cinemas able to host up to 20 people.

Outdoor and indoor patron limits have also been upped for pubs, restaurants and cafes.

Victoria has tweaked its COVID-19 "dashboard" to reflect the change of emphasis on testing, with the 14-day rolling case average no longer reported in the health department's daily tweet.

Sunday's easing of restrictions has fed debate about relaxing mandatory mask rules, with Deakin University chair of epidemiology Catherine Bennett expressing her surprise they weren't changed.

Mr Weimar noted Melbourne had only started coming out of lockdown less than a fortnight ago and said masks were a "critical element in safeguarding gains we have made".

The state's virus death toll remains at 819 and the national figure is 907.

© AAP 2020

Image by fernando zhiminaicela from Pixabay

Tags: coronavirus