NSW hits new COVID-19 milestone

NSW has notched up another day with no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.

It has now been nine days since the state recorded a recent locally acquired case of the virus.

Two new cases were detected in returned overseas travellers.

The cases were detected in just 8305 tests - about 2000 fewer tests than the day before.

But that day recorded just one infection in the past 24 hours to 8pm Friday - a returned overseas traveller who remains in hotel quarantine.

The day before four other returned travellers had tested positive for the virus after 10,000 tests were conducted.

The two new cases takes the total number of infections confirmed in NSW since the virus arrived in Australia at 4045.

It marks the longest streak of no cases being passed on from within the community and clears the path for the border with Queensland, as well as a trans-Tasman bubble, to open within the coming months.

Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk had flagged NSW needed to have 28 days of no local transmissions before she would consider opening the border, potentially on November 1.

12 NEW VIC CASES AND ONE DEATH

Victoria has recorded 12 new cases of coronavirus overnight, along with one death.

The latest figures reveal a slight rise from the eight new cases recorded on Saturday.

The important 14-day case average marker for metropolitan Melbourne stands at 11.9.

Under Victoria's road map to reopening, restrictions will be eased after October 19 if the average is less than five.

It comes as Premier Daniel Andrews has warned that Melbourne's beaches could be closed if rule-breakers continue to gather in crowds and flout restrictions, as revellers swarmed the St Kilda shoreline for a second night on Saturday.

3,000 workers told to return to CBD offices

Meanwhile, thousands of NSW public servants will head back to the office over the coming weeks in a move the government hopes will help fire up the economy while bring life to the deserted CBD.

With COVID cases remaining low, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said government employees were being encouraged to return.

A special task-force has been tackling ways to inject life back in to the city which has been all but deserted since the start of the pandemic.

With thousands of office workers working from home, cafes and bars have been struggling with the downturn in customers.

According to government figures, there are around 13,000 public servants who work in the CBD.

A taskforce has been tackling ways to inject life back in to the city. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Flavio Brancaleone
A taskforce has been tackling ways to inject life back in to the city. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Flavio Brancaleone

As part of the State government COVID Safe transition program, workers will have access to flexible working arrangements, including staggered start and finish times.

Due to COVID-19 public health orders and the application of the four-square metre

rule, the number of employees returning to work across Government will differ

depending on the office spaces available.

As has been the case for the past few months, employees will be urged to travel

outside of peak times where possible to help maintain social distancing on public

transport.

Where social distancing is difficult, workers will be urged to wear a face mask.

Ms Berejiklian said public servants returning safely to the office was an

important step in the state's recovery.

With thousands of people working from home with the downturn in customers. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gaye Gerard
With thousands of people working from home with the downturn in customers. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gaye Gerard

However, she warned the state could not afford to become complacent.

"The health and safety of the people of NSW has always been our number one priority, however we are also focused on firing up the economy," Ms Berejiklian said.

"We are now encouraging public servants to physically return to work in their offices in a COVID Safe way, which will help stimulate city-based businesses and create more jobs across the state.

"The Government will continue to review health advice and aim to ensure we keep people safe and at the same time allow them to return to their normal lives as much as possible."

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said government employees were being encouraged to return to work in city offices. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Flavio Brancaleone
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said government employees were being encouraged to return to work in city offices. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Flavio Brancaleone

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said public servants returning safely to the office was an important economic signal for not just the State but the country.

"Our top-class health response and contact tracing has managed to help contain COVID-19 and we now need to begin returning our city safely to a more normal footing," he said.

"This is an important step, and as workers return safely to the city it will help boost confidence and support businesses who have suffered over the past six months."

The NSW government is sifting through more than 100 ideas that emerged out of the recent Summer Summit to revitalise the CBD, including allowing live performances throughout the city, expanding al fresco dining and relaxing liquor restrictions.

Working closely with the City of Sydney and key industry stakeholders, the measures aim to encourage visitors back in to the city while helping boost business.


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