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Victoria records 10 new local COVID-19 cases ahead of announcement on lockdown lifting

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Victoria has reported 10 new local COVID-19 cases as authorities prepare to cautiously lift the state’s lockdown while wary of another outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant.

For a third straight day, all the new locally acquired cases on Tuesday have been linked to Victoria’s current outbreaks and were in isolation for their entire infectious period.

There are now 190 infections linked to the outbreak, which originated from NSW.

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More than 24,000 test results were received in the 24 hours to midnight on Tuesday, while 15,677 vaccine doses were administered at state-run sites during the same period.

Premier Daniel Andrews, senior government ministers and the state’s public health team met on Monday night to make a final decision on the new restrictions.

An announcement is expected to be made before midday on Tuesday, with students set to return to school and hospitality and retail businesses to reopen.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp urged the state government to reveal their lockdown call as soon as possible for the sake of businesses.

“The earlier we know that, the earlier traders can prepare with their suppliers and with their teams,” she told Nine’s Today on Tuesday morning.

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When Victoria emerged from last month’s lockdown, a number of strict restrictions were kept in place for two weeks, including a 25-kilometre travel rule, a ban on visitors at homes and strict density limits for hospitality, retail and offices.

Some businesses, including gyms and nightclubs, weren’t able to reopen.

Mr Andrews has flagged masks will likely remain compulsory in some settings.

The statewide lockdown was called on 15 July and initially slated to run five days before it was extended to 11.59pm on Tuesday, as contact tracers struggled to chase down people before they turned positive.

The outbreak was seeded by a NSW removalist crew who passed the virus on to residents of Maribyrnong’s Ariele Apartments and a separate family who returned from NSW.

On Tuesday, police revealed the three-person removalist crew will not face any criminal charges despite not wearing masks on the job, in a breach of the worker permits.

“Victoria Police has undertaken an assessment of the material provided and determined there is no evidence of other offending,” a spokesman said in a statement to AAP.

“As such, Victoria Police will not be taking any action and this matter is closed from a police perspective.”

It followed the health department completing its investigation into the removalists who travelled to the state on 8 July before heading to South Australia.

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