Australia

Daniel Andrews says it's 'a great day' for Victoria as coronavirus cases plummet to a three-month low

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews addresses the media. Source: AAP

The 14-day rolling average in metropolitan Melbourne is now 34.4, well below the 50 case threshold needed for restrictions to be eased.

Victoria has recorded just 11 new coronavirus cases and two new deaths in the past 24 hours.

The number of new infections is the lowest reported since 16 June, near the beginning of the state's second wave.

The number of active cases in the state fell to 657, with just 23 infections in regional areas.

Two elderly women died overnight after contracting the virus. 

The 14-day rolling average of cases in metropolitan Melbourne fell to 34.4 cases, well below the 50 case threshold required for the state to move to the second step of the re-opening roadmap.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said Melburnians should be optimistic after consecutive days with low infection numbers.

"This is not just a good day, this is a great day. We are seeing those numbers come down. This strategy is working,” Mr Andrews said.

“The dividends are here for us to see. We will get to that COVID normal and the numbers will be at such a low level that we are able to, with some confidence, lock that in.”

The downward trend in infections has raised hopes among some residents that Metropolitan Melbourne could exit its lockdown ahead of schedule.

Under the roadmap, a small number of measures are due to be relaxed on 28 September, with the curfew and restrictions of movement to be lifted no earlier than 26 October.

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Mr Andrews said the path towards easing rules would be constantly reviewed, but he's standing by his "safe and steady" approach.

"Everyone wants to be open… but if we do it too fast, then we simply run an unacceptable risk of losing control and all of the hard work that everyone has done," he said.

“All of the sacrifice, the massive contribution that people have made and are making every day, won't count for much at all.”

He acknowledged the frustrations felt by some Victorians about the delayed impacts of the lockdown.

“There is a lag with this. That is one of the wicked elements of this enemy,” Mr Andrews said.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth welcomed the Victorian’s government openness to reviewing the timelines.

“But we need to keep in mind that there's still a way to go,” he told the ABC.

“When Victorians come out of restrictions, particularly in Melbourne, the complacency has to be avoided.”

The Casey cluster that emerged last week as a major worry for health authorities remains at 43 cases.

The Premier said he was not worried about a fall in testing rates after just 7,164 tests were recorded in the last 24 hours, down on earlier weeks.

“My advice is that it is adequate,” he said.

“Obviously testing becomes more important, or more important, once you open up. These numbers again are not of concern."

Healthcare workers are seen at a drive through pop up coronavirus testing facility in Clyde, Melbourne.
Healthcare workers are seen at a drive through pop up coronavirus testing facility in Clyde, Melbourne.
AAP

Education minister James Merlino announced school camps will resume in regional Victoria when term four begins, provided they have a COVID plan.

Primary school students in the regions will return to on-site learning from 5 October.

Optimism has risen among Melbourne small businesses, with a survey showing 35 per cent now believe the Victorian economy will be better in one year's time.

That compares with just 17 per cent in August believing the state's economy will improve by then, the Sensis Business Index shows.

More also think the national economy will mend, with 26 per cent saying it will be better in a year compared with 14 per cent last month.

Metropolitan Melbourne residents are subject to Stage 4 restrictions and must comply with a curfew between the hours of 9pm and 5am.

During the curfew, people in Melbourne can only leave their house for work, and essential health, care or safety reasons.

Between 5am and 9pm, 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. The full list of restrictions can be found here.

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.

News and information is available in 63 languages at https://sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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