Australia

Daniel Andrews says Victoria 'so, so close' to taking a 'big step' as state records just five new cases

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Source: AAP

Victoria has had three more coronavirus deaths, taking the state toll to 787 and the national figure to 875, but the number of new cases dropped to just five.

Victorians are being urged to stay the course with their coronavirus restrictions, as the premier says they are close to taking "a really big step".

Daniel Andrews' optimism comes off the back of the state having its lowest new cases since 12 June.

While Victoria had three more deaths, there were only five new cases.

Mr Andrews said Victoria is well ahead of schedule with its reopening roadmap.

Several Melbourne restrictions are being eased on Monday, while the city's curfew ended at 5am.

A new roadmap schedule was announced on Sunday, with 19 October looming as the next key date for adjusting Melbourne's restrictions.

"We are so, so close, and what's important now is that everyone keeps following the rules," Mr Andrews said.

"If we can do it, and I'm confident that we can, we will be able to take big steps in just three weeks."

The latest deaths take the state toll to 787 and the national figure to 875.

One problem for Victorian authorities is testing, with only 6807 new tests announced on Monday.

The premier has said repeatedly that tests must stay high for authorities to be confident in easing restrictions.

Jeroen Weimar from the Department of Health and Human Services said he was particularly concerned about testing levels across outer regional Victoria.

He said wastewater testing has been expanded and there are now 23 sampling sites across the state.

Mr Weimar added the department has trialled saliva testing with 1000 Victoria Police officers and picked up one positive case in the Dandenong station.

There is good news on the Casey cluster in Melbourne's outer south-east.

Mr Weimar said more than 16,000 people in the Dandenong area had been tested over the last two to three weeks, with a 50 per cent increase in one week.

The outbreak has reached 44 cases across eight households.

"It hasn't spread beyond those households," he said.

Melbourne's all-important rolling new case average is now down to 20.3 and is at 0.6 for regional areas.

There were just 31 cases with an unknown source for Melbourne from September 12-25 and none outside the city.

A trial contesting the curfew's legality under the state's human rights charter was scheduled for the Supreme Court on Monday.

The premier has denied the lifting of the curfew was motivated by the legal action.

From 11.59pm on Sunday, 127,000 people were able to return to work - close to 30,000 more than originally expected.

Other rule changes include child care reopening, allowances for outdoor gatherings of up to five from two households and the lifting of a shopping limit of one person per household a day.

Victoria's VCE and VCAL students will return to school for assessments from 5 October, with primary school students back on 12 October.

Hospital patients will be allowed one visitor per day for a maximum of two hours, while patients under 18 will be allowed unlimited visits from two parents or carers.

Melbourne's two-hour exercise limit and 5km travel restriction remain, although Mr Andrews foreshadowed full freedom of movement could come on October 19 ahead of AFL grand final weekend.

Deputy Premier James Merlino told 3AW the state's much-criticised contact tracing system is now working well.

But he is yet to receive a report after Victorian officials visited NSW to look at its contact tracing, held up by the prime minister as the gold standard.

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 sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

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