Australia

Victoria has one more coronavirus death, another 12 cases

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews addresses the media during a press conference in Melbourne, Friday, September 25, 2020. Source: AAP

Victoria has had one more coronavirus death, taking the state toll to 782 and the national figure to 870, as new case numbers continue to drop.

Victoria has had one more coronavirus death as Melbourne's new case average continues to fall.

The death takes the state toll to 782 and the national figure to 870.

There were 12 new cases, while Melbourne's 14-day average fell again on Saturday to 23.6.

It is only 0.8 in regional Victoria.

Meanwhile, after six weeks of hearings at the $3 million hotel inquiry, it is still not known who made the decision to use security guards instead of the police or the Australian Defence Force, which assisted in other states.

The premier, Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, Jobs Minister Martin Pakula and Police Minister Lisa Neville have all denied being involved in the decision.

Ms Mikakos announced her resignation from parliament on Saturday after Premier Daniel Andrews told the inquiry she was "accountable" for the bungled hotel quarantine scheme.

"I have never shirked my responsibility for my department but it is not my responsibility alone," Ms Mikakos said in a statement.

Mr Andrews was the much-awaited final appearance at the inquiry on Friday and said he was disappointed no one in his government knows who made the fateful decision.

"There's just no one who says it was them. Are you aware of that?", counsel assisting the inquiry Rachel Ellyard asked.

"I am," the premier replied.

"Do you know who it was?"

"No, I don't."

Ms Ellyard said a potential explanation was that it "wasn't really a decision consciously made by anyone but rather a kind of creeping assumption that formed amongst a group".

"That would be even more concerning to me because that's not a decision at all. That's just a series of assumptions," Mr Andrews said.

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While the political heat is high, the two-week rolling average of new daily cases continues to trend lower.

Melburnians are waiting for the easing of restrictions on Monday, though the premier has tried to temper expectations.

He has flagged the next scheduled "step" on October 26 could be changed, depending on improving case numbers.

Proposed changes for Monday include a staged return to school for some students and an allowance for outdoor gatherings of five people from two households.

Meanwhile, anti-lockdown protesters are again expected to express their frustration over the weekend.

Protesters are expected to gather in undisclosed locations to defy restrictions.

Small anti-lockdown rallies have happened every weekend for weeks now, resulting in multiple arrests and hefty fines.

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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