While Mr Andrews remained tight-lipped on how restrictions will loosen on Monday, he said the rate of community transmission, rather than outbreaks, would guide the state.
“Outbreaks, I suppose, can be seen as one-offs, because every one is different … but at the same time it also serves to remind us just how infectious, just how rapid the transmission of this virus can be,” he said.
The Premier slammed Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien, who on Wednesday labelled the Cedar Meats outbreak “Daniel Andrews’ own Ruby Princess” caused by “government incompetence”.
“I’m not responding to irrelevant, silly political games,” Mr Andrews said.
“Fighting among ourselves is not what’s required and I just won’t engage in it. We should all be focused on fighting the virus.
“Sometimes people say things and it says more about them than it does about the subject matter. I’m not responding to people who are completely irrelevant to the work I’m doing, and irrelevant to keeping Victorians safe. That’s my sole focus.”
National cabinet will meet on Friday to finalise a guide to a staged relaxation of social restrictions.
Mr Andrews confirmed the government would loosen restrictions in Victoria in some way on Monday, but ruled out doing so before, including for Mother’s Day on Sunday.
Queensland’s government on Thursday announced five people could visit a household of any size from Sunday, while in NSW visitors are capped at two.
“The 11th of May is always the date that we used,” Mr Andrews said.
“We always knew that was a day after Mother’s Day. Everyone wants to be with their mum.
“But let’s be really cautious. Let’s be really careful not to be spreading the virus. We’ve come a long way and we can’t give all that back.”
A worker at a McDonald’s store in Fawkner, in Melbourne’s north, has also tested positive to COVID-19. The restaurant remains open and was not closed for any time.
A McDonald’s spokeswoman said the employee last worked on April 30 and there was “no suggestion the employee was exposed to COVID-19 in the restaurant”.
The company did not say whether the worker had direct contact with other employees or diners when they were infectious. It is also unclear when the worker tested positive.
Federal authorities are investigating the Cedar Meats outbreak amid concerns meat inspectors were exposed to the virus in April.
A Cedar Meats employee revealed to The Age that workers were called to a meeting last Friday, four days after the company was told there was an outbreak.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, who initiated the investigation, on Thursday said Victorian officials should have told his department as soon as they knew about the first Cedar Meats case on April 2, but stressed he was “not looking for any recriminations”.
Authorities are still investigating how the Cedar Meats outbreak unfolded, after the first case on April 2 told contact tracers he had not worked at the site for four weeks before becoming unwell.
None of the 62 Cedar Meats cases have been hospitalised, Mr Andrews said.
COVID-19 cases were confirmed at two Melbourne nursing homes on Wednesday, including one linked to Cedar Meats.
Mr Andrews said all residents and staff at the nursing homes would be tested.
About 60 per cent of tests of residents and staff at Grant Lodge nursing home in Bacchus Marsh, which was placed into lockdown on Wednesday, have come back, with all negative so far. The remainder of the results are expected on Friday.
Michael is a reporter for The Age.
Paul is a reporter for The Age.