Australia

Victoria records 45 new coronavirus cases and five more deaths

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Source: AAP

The 14-day rolling average number of daily cases in Melbourne has fallen to 42.7, well below the 30-50 cases per day benchmark needed for the city to move into the next stage out of restrictions on 28 September.

An additional 45 coronavirus infections have been recorded in Victoria overnight, up slightly from an almost-three-month low of 28 cases the previous day.

Another five Victorians have also died from the virus, taking the state's coronavirus death toll to 750.

The victims, three men in their 50s, 70s and 80s, and two women in their 90s, were all linked to aged care outbreaks, where 474 active cases remain. 

The 14-day rolling average daily tally in Melbourne also fell to 42.7 on Friday, well under the 30-50 cases per day benchmark needed for the city to move into the next stage of the road map out of restrictions on 28 September.

Of the new cases, 32 were linked to known outbreaks or complex cases, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday, while the total number of active cases in the state has dropped to 920.

A significant outbreak in the outer south-east of Melbourne has also grown to 90 active cases, authorities said on Friday, including a cluster of 34 infections across five households in Hallam, Clyde, Narre Warren South and Cranbourne North.

"These five houses in this particular cluster have had, unfortunately, some members of those households visiting other households and it is that limited amount of contact ... between these five households that has now meant that we have 34 people in five houses experiencing or living with a very real threat of the coronavirus," said Jeroen Weimar, who heads up the state's testing strategy. 

"We have had to undertake a significant and painstaking contact-tracing exercise to actually get to the bottom of which other households were involved and how those households are connected."

Mr Andrews said he was disappointed that people had chosen to flout Stage 4 restrictions to travel between homes, warning that breaking the rules would see them in place for longer.

"The rules are in place for a reason and anyone who undermines this, undermines entire strategy," he said. 

Friday's announcement came as traffic banked up at the so-called "ring of steel" around Melbourne, put in place to stop the city's residents travelling to the regions where further restrictions were lifted on Thursday.

Victoria Police and Australian Defence Force personnel are manning checkpoints out of the city, with traffic at the Little River crossing to Geelong stretching back about 20 kilometres. 

Melbourne residents could be fined close to $5,000 if they attempt to travel to regional Victoria, which has a 14-day average of 2.3 cases per day, without a valid reason.

Meanwhile, New South Wales recorded six new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, five of which were international arrivals in hotel quarantine. The sixth new infection was in a household contact of a previous confirmed case.

Additional reporting: AAP. 

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 sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

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