Coronavirus cases drop again in Victoria with state recording 179 new infections and nine deaths

Friday’s infection figures mark the first time in over a month where Victoria has recorded less than 200 infections.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews Source: AAP

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews thanked Victorians on Friday as the state recorded another encouraging drop in coronavirus cases. 

The state's health department has reported 179 new infections and nine deaths in the 24 hours to Friday morning. 

Friday’s infection figures mark the first time in over a month where Victoria has recorded less then 200 infections, with only 24 'mystery' cases without a known source recorded.

“We are all pleased to see a ‘one’ in front of these additional case numbers, and to a certain extent, it is perhaps at that level a little quicker than I thought it might be,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“Victorians are doing a mighty job in very, very difficult circumstances, following rules, limiting movement, and therefore limiting the spread of this wildly infectious virus.”

But he conceded there's no room for complacency, and "there's no way we can assume that this is over". 

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the state was entering a “challenging phase” in its virus response, as health authorities attempt to drive down virus transmission in aged care, disability and health care facilities. 

There are currently 1,732 cases in aged care, while 62 active cases have been diagnosed in disability care.

“Even as community transmission goes down, those complex outbreak settings that are really hard to get on top of transmission … they might end up with a baseline level of transmission that is harder to shift,” Prof Sutton said.

“Even though we're seeing numbers below 200 today, there might be a flattening off in the next couple of weeks if we don't really focus all our attention on these complex settings.”

New infections are also trending downwards in regional areas, with just 15 new cases reported in the past 24 hours outside of metropolitan Melbourne.

“These numbers are low, they're trending in the right direction, and that's good. But please come forward and get tested if you have any symptoms whatsoever,” Mr Andrews said.

NSW Police officers check cars crossing from Victoria at a border check point in the border town of Albury.
Source: AAP

Meanwhile, new restrictions came into effect on Friday preventing Victorians in border areas from crossing into South Australia.

The restrictions also stop Victorians from returning to the state after crossing the border.

Premier Daniel Andrews has said he would discuss the border changes with national cabinet colleagues.

"We're doing everything we can to try and make the fact that others have closed their borders to us as workable as possible," he said on Thursday.

Victoria recorded 216 new infections on Wednesday and 240 cases on Thursday. 

With the situation in Victoria stabilising, Mr Andrews has refused to be drawn on when exactly stage 4 lockdown would be wound back. 

"We have numbers in the low 200s, the trend is good," he said on Thursday. 

"We have to acknowledge that even at that number, even at that half number, if you opened up, you wouldn’t have defeated the second wave, you’d just be beginning the process of a third wave.

"I don’t think anyone wants that." 

With AAP. 

Between 5am and 8pm, people in Melbourne can leave the home for exercise, to shop for necessary goods and services, for work, for health care, or to care for a sick or elderly relative. 

All Victorians must wear a face covering when they leave home, no matter where they live.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits. 

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. 

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Published 21 August 2020 at 9:02am, updated 21 August 2020 at 4:51pm
By Naveen Razik, Steve Trask