Australia

Victoria has recorded 21 new coronavirus cases and seven more deaths

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews looks on during a press conference in Melbourne. Source: AAP

While public health authorities respond to a cluster of COVID-19 cases in Melbourne's southeast, Victoria recorded 21 new cases and seven deaths.

Victoria has reported 21 more cases of COVID-19 in its lowest daily increase in infections in almost three months, as Melbourne tackles a suburban cluster and braces for anti-lockdown protests.

The state also recorded another seven deaths in its latest update on Saturday, with the figures taking the state's coronavirus death toll to 757 and the national count to 844.

Those deaths include one man in his 60s, three men in their 80s, and one man and two women in their 90s, with all but one of the fatalities linked to aged care outbreaks.

Metropolitan Melbourne has a 14-day new case average of 39.3, well below the state's target of 50.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Saturday said the new numbers told "a powerful story of what can be achieved when you stay the course".

"This strategy is working," Mr Andrews told reporters.

When you don't get sidetracked by some of the loudest voices, who I understand are hurting and want to open up, we'd all like to open up as quickly as possible, but we won't be open for very long if we don't first get these numbers down to a low level."

The latest update comes as authorities respond to infections in the Casey and Dandenong council areas on the Melbourne's southeast rim, with five households in Clyde, Cranbourne North, Hallam and Narre Warren South linked to 34 active cases.

 

Contact tracers discovered household members had been breaching the 5km travel limit for visits.

Other cases in the area are linked to workplaces, including nine connected to a truck manufacturer and six to Dandenong Police Station.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton on Saturday said the Casey cluster was heading with the right direction, with active cases at 67, down from 74 the previous day.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews
AAP

"I would say it is under control," Professor Sutton told reporters. We will always look out over the 14 day period when the new cases can emerge."

A special team has been created to target the cluster, with the government in conversation with local community members and leaders.

A Monash Health spokesman confirmed it was caring for three people in hospital connected to the Casey cluster on Saturday. 

Mr Andrews has urged anti-lockdown protesters not to gather following reports of more planned protests in Melbourne.

 

"Go home and follow the rules," Mr Andrews said on Saturday. "There is no need to protest about anything for or against. It's not safe.

"It just doesn't make any sense. You are potentially putting the strategy at risk."

It is unclear exactly where the demonstrations will be, with protesters taking caution not to make their plans easily accessible online.

There have already been a number of rallies over the past several weekends, with police responding with a heavy presence, handing out dozens of fines and making arrests.

Metropolitan Melbourne residents are subject to Stage 4 restrictions and must comply with a curfew between the hours of 8pm 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 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.

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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