Vic records first virus death in a month

A Victorian woman in her 70s who contracted coronavirus in July has died of complications.
A Victorian woman in her 70s who contracted coronavirus in July has died of complications.

Victoria has recorded the first Australian first coronavirus death in a month, as the fallout continues from the state's devastating second wave.

Premier Daniel Andrews has revealed details of Victoria's revamped hotel quarantine program, with an emphasis that there will be no involvement from private security guards.

Also on Monday, the state government announced it would split up the Department of Health and Human Service in the wake of this year's crisis, with the creation of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.

The state government's long-awaited contact tracing app is also being rolled out.

Victoria has now gone 31 days without a new case and is officially free of the virus.

But on Monday morning the DHHS announced Australia's first virus fatality since two Victorians died on October 28.

A woman in her 70s died from complications relating to an earlier diagnosis of COVID-19.

"Our advice is that she passed away very recently," the premier said.

"They believe coronavirus-induced damage to her lungs has caused her to pass away, and therefore she is counted as a coronavirus death."

Her death takes the state's toll from the virus to 820 and the national figure to 908.

The most recent Australian virus fatalities were two Victorians on October 28.

The state recorded no new cases on Monday - the 31st day in a row - as thousands of workers were allowed to return to the office for the first time in nine months.

But the repercussions continue to be felt from the second wave that resulted in more than 18,000 infections and 800 deaths.

The premier said the new quarantine program, which restarts on December 7, will be the "strongest and safest" in the country.

A dedicated agency, COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV), has been established to oversee the program.

All staff will be employed or directly contracted by CQV, with the exception of cleaning staff, who are on fixed-term contracts with Alfred Health.

About 300 Victoria Police officers and 220 Australian Defence Force personnel will be embedded in the hotels each day.

"There are no private security engaged," Mr Andrews said.

"No moonlighting, no second jobs, no subcontracting of a subcontract, because there are no subcontracts, it is all direct and obvious and clear."

The use of private security in the original quarantine program was disastrous, leading directly to the state's second wave, and has been a focus of the hotel quarantine inquiry that will hand down its findings next month.

The splitting of the DHHS in two from February 1 is designed to streamline community services as the state recovers from the second wave.

Martin Foley will remain health minister and Richard Wynne will take on the new families, fairness and housing portfolio.

It will cover areas including child protection, family violence, housing and disability.

It will also take over multicultural affairs, LGBTQI+ Equality, Veterans and the offices for women and youth, which currently come under the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The government has rolled out its own universal check-in method for businesses via a QR code and is working on a way to integrate the existing QR systems with the DHHS contact tracing system.

With Victoria officially virus-free, other states have started welcoming travellers from the state again.

NSW lifted restrictions for Victorian travellers last Monday, while Queensland and South Australia will reopen their borders from Tuesday.

The Northern Territory lifted the coronavirus hotspot declaration for greater Melbourne from midday on Monday, clearing the way for people to travel there without quarantining.

Australian Associated Press