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Local News - Victoria

Victoria records 15 new COVID-19 cases, five deaths


Victoria has recorded 15 new cases of coronavirus and five deaths in the past day.

The figures bring Melbourne’s crucial 14-day average down to 29.4, from 32.8 on Tuesday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has said the state is “absolutely on track” to take its next step out of lockdown on Sunday night, but those details are not yet settled.

“That is a matter that will be informed by the data I have just reported, plus tomorrow’s numbers, and so on and so forth,” he said on Tuesday.



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Local News - Victoria

Victoria records 28 new coronavirus cases, three deaths


Victoria has recorded 28 new cases of coronavirus and three more deaths.

The numbers bring Melbourne’s rolling 14-day average to 32.8, down from 34.4 on Monday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been urged not to bow to pressure when easing coronavirus restrictions, amid calls for the government to bring forward the steps to opening up under its road map.

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Victoria records 11 new cases of COVID-19, two deaths


Victoria has recorded 11 new cases of coronavirus in the past day and two further deaths.

The numbers bring Melbourne’s rolling 14-day average down to 34.4. There are 47 active cases from an unknown source.

The numbers come after Premier Daniel Andrews raised hopes on Sunday of easing coronavirus restrictions sooner than planned.

Sunday’s new daily case tally was 14, the lowest in three months. Mr Andrews declared the declining numbers and Sunday’s figures were “cause for great optimism and positivity”.



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Australian News

State records lowest number of COVID-19 cases in three months


Premier Daniel Andrews has praised Victorians for working together to drive down coronavirus case numbers to the lowest in three months with just 14 new infections and five deaths recordd in the lastest figures.

As of 5pm Sunday, there had been just 14 news cases in the last 24 hours out of 12,461 test results, five lives lost and 743 active cases across the state.

In total, Victoria has recorded 20,042 cases, administered 2,575,457 tests, seen 761 deaths and 18,473 residents recovering from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

The last time the state announced fewer cases was on June 19, when 13 new cases were diagnosed, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

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The 14 day average daily case rate in metro Melbourne has now also fallen to 36.2 – meaning the city is on track to move to the second step of easing restrictions on September 28.

While Mr Andrews praised Victorians for helping to drive down the numbers, he stressed the state could not afford to be complacent or reopen too early.

“This is a good day though,” he said. “A day where Victorians can be proud of the work they’ve done, their commitment, their resolve to see this off, to defeat this virus in its second wave, comprehensively and sustainably.”

“This is a day that beyond any doubt this strategy is working and we will get to that COVID normal and it will be meaningful and sustainable,” he said.

“It will be able to be locked in, we’re not going to spend 2021, I’m determined, we are not going to spend 2021 bouncing in and out of lockdowns.”

He marked the occasion by tweeting the number 14 with the caption, “We can do this.”

Chief health officer Brett Sutton also acknowledged the milestone on Twitter with the words, “14 is a very good number. Home stretch!”

Metropolitan Melbourne must reach an average daily case rate of between 30 and 50 cases over the preceding fortnight to trigger an easing of restrictions from September 28.

Active cases in the state have dropped to 743 with 94 Victorians in hospital including eight in intensive care.

The new figures came the same day as a protest at Melbourne’s Chadstone Shopping Centre where two people were arrested and six fined.
While organisers touted the anti-lockdown rally as “the big one”, in fact just dozens of protesters turned up at 1pm near Coles in the shopping centre where they sang John Farnham’s You’re the Voice before quickly dispersing.



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Local News - Victoria

Victoria records just 14 new cases and five deaths


“These numbers are coming down. We are, thanks to the hard work of every single Victorian, the vast, vast majority of Victorians who are following the rules, doing the right thing, getting tested as soon as they have symptoms. That’s why we’re seeing the numbers come down and that’s why we will continue to see them come down in accordance with our road map to COVID-normal.”

But Mr Andrews said although the numbers were within the averages required to move to the next step he would be urging caution.

“There will, of course, always be debates about timing and whether we’re on schedule, ahead of schedule, all of those things,” Mr Andrews said.

“Ultimately, these numbers are cause for great optimism and a positivity, I would hope, right across Metropolitan Melbourne, just as regional Victoria this week has taken two big steps to open up and we’re seeing stability in those numbers. Days this week with no new cases across regional Victoria despite significant testing activity. We will see the same thing occur in Metropolitan Melbourne and we’ll do it in a safe and steady way.”

It’s the second day in a row of daily new cases under 30, with just 21 cases recorded on Saturday – and marks the lowest new daily case number since June 19 where there were 13 new cases reported.

All five deaths recorded today were linked to aged care and included two men and two women in their 80s, and a woman in her 90s.

There are now 94 Victorians in hospital with coronavirus, eight in intensive care and five of those in ICU on a ventilator. There were 12,461 test results processed yesterday.

“Can I thank each and every one of those almost 12,500 Victorians,” Mr Andrews said. “Again, if I can urge and ask all Victorians – don’t put it off until tomorrow. Don’t wait at all. If you’ve got symptoms, however mild, please come forward and get tested.”

A sizeable cluster in Melbourne’s south-east has grown again today to 40 cases, up from 34 yesterday.

Mr Andrews defended not fining people involved in the cluster who may have broken Chief Health Officer directives, saying the “real riches, the real treasure here” is accurate information and he didn’t want to deter any positive cases telling contact tracers the truth about who they had seen or where they had been.

“I’m not expecting everyone to be happy with that,” he said. “The real riches are not in fining people for telling the truth to a contact tracer. It’s getting the place open and if we don’t get accurate information, enforcement information you won’t trace those people, you simply won’t.”

Mr Andrews this morning has said the outbreak, based around Narre Warren and Hallam, was an example of how quickly outbreaks could take off again.

“So it just gives you a sense of one person, just a single person, can infect many, many other people. And the contact tracing work that has gone on there has seen us pull that up,” he said. “There is still, I’m sure, close contacts and others will be very much monitored to make sure that if they exhibit symptoms, that we can further isolate them. But they’re all isolated there.

“We believe that we can pull it up at that number, but again, it’s always subject to events as they unfold.”

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley has announced cash injections for venues and $13 million worth of grants for individuals affected by the ongoing lockdown measures in the state.

Well-known venues across Melbourne and regional Victoria will be among the first to receive grants under the program.

Mr Foley said there would also be changes to planning laws to protect music venues. “We want to make sure that in this COVID shutdown period, that venues are not at risk and councils are given the tools to make sure that live music venues can keep pumping out rock and roll and keep pumping out music for many years to come.”

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos made a celebratory tweet moments before the numbers were released.

“Before I go to sleep I get the tentative ‘number’. You are awesome Melbourne,” she wrote.

In a follow-up message, she paid tribute to the five lives lost over the past day but encouraged Melburnians to keep adhering to restrictions to snuff the virus out.

“The huge sacrifices made by Victorians are saving many lives. The new cases keep trending down with your efforts. Thank you to all Victorians. You are amazing. We can do this,” Ms Mikakos wrote.

Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average is now 36.2, meaning in all likelihood Melburnians can look forward to gatherings of up to five people from two different households in public spaces and the re-opening of childcare centres.

But significant changes such as the lifting of the 9pm to 5am curfew and the five-kilometre radius rule will not be lifted for another month, and only if the rolling 14-day average for new cases drops to less than five cases.

The number of ‘mystery’ cases over with an unknown source over the past two weeks (measured between September 4 and September 17) has now dropped to 52. That number also needs to be less than five by October 26 for the city to move to the third step of easing.

Half of Victoria’s active cases are still being driven by aged care infections. As of Saturday, 433 of the state’s 834 active cases were either residents in aged care, staff members in aged care or family members of staff.

The health department announced a new aged care outbreak at BlueCross Riverlea aged care facility in Avondale Heights on Saturday.

Meanwhile Sutton Park McKenzie Aged Care in Melton South, Estia Health Aged Care Facility in Keilor and Doutta Galla Aged Services in Woornack are currently topping the list of 75 facilities with active cases, with 114 active cases between them.

Healthcare worker infections, which include aged care workers, continue to make up around 15 per cent of overall active cases.

A cluster in the City of Casey, thought to be spread by people visiting each other at home, grew to 34 cases on Saturday, with 26 cases active.

Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said on Saturday that the outbreak was now under control, and apologised after he linked that spread to some members of the Afghan community.

As of Saturday the other largest non-aged care outbreaks were at Footscray Hospital with 15 cases (13 active), Vawdrey Australia Truck manufacturer with 64 cases (seven active), Dandenong Police Station with 17 cases (six active) and Alfred Hospital with seven cases (six active).

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Local News - Victoria

Victoria records 21 new cases of COVID-19 seven deaths


“It is a combination of indoors which is 20 times more dangerous than outdoors. And the length of time you spend.

“There are brief encounters indoors, as you get your takeaway coffee, it is much less of a risk. But if you are indoors for a protracted period of time that is exactly when transmission occurs. People need to be aware of that.”

Since Monday, Victorians living alone have been allowed to visit a ‘bubble buddy’. Regional Victorians can now host up to five visitors from one nominated household.

A cluster of 34 in the city of Casey, thought to be spread by people visiting each other at home, is now under control, Professor Sutton said. He apologised on Saturday after he linked that spread to some members of the Afghan community.

“Members of the community might have felt singled out by statements I made recently. That was absolutely not my intention. So, sorry. It is a country I love and respect. I apologise.”

Premier Daniel Andrews says the low numbers showed the government’s strategy was working – not that Victorians could afford to relax it.

“Those numbers tell a powerful story of what can be achieved when you stay the course,” Mr Andrews said.

“Logic, commonsense, international our own experience shows us that you can’t hope to keep numbers low until you first get them low. That is just an undeniable fact,” he said.

To trigger an easing of lockdown restrictions on September 28, the new cases must average between 30 and 50 over 14 days.

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Thirteen of the new cases are connected to known outbreaks, eight are ‘mystery cases’ from an unknown source.

The last time Victoria recorded a lower number of new daily infections was on June 24, when the state recorded just 20 infections.

That was the beginning of Victoria’s second wave; just a week later, the state would record 75 infections.

Another 11,900 tests were done on Friday, Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“To everyone who has got tested, thank you so much. And anyone who has got symptoms, the only thing to do, don’t wait until Monday, don’t wait a moment, go and get tested,” the Premier said.

“There are more than 200 sites, it is a very quick turnaround, 90% of results are back within 24 hours. It is a massive thing that you can do. Simple but so, so important.”

It may not be enough for tens of thousands of elderly Victorians facing a lonely summer as the state’s aged care homes remain in some form of COVID-19 lockdown. Visits from friends and family will be strictly limited well into 2021.

Premier Daniel Andrews said visiting residential aged care will not return to normal until a vaccine becomes available or until a rapid test was developed that could screen visitors as they arrive.

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Australian News

45 new cases, 4 more deaths


Victoria recorded 45 new coronavirus cases and four deaths on Friday, according to Sky News.

It comes after the state recorded just 28 cases on Thursday, with the average daily case number for metropolitan Melbourne dropping to 44.4, meaning the city is on track to a scheduled easing of restrictions.

Metropolitan Melbourne must reach an average daily case rate of between 30 and 50 cases over the preceding fortnight to trigger an easing of lockdown measures from September 28.

The daily average in regional Victoria on Thursday was 2.9.

Premier Daniel Andrews will front the media later on Friday.



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Victoria records 28 new cases of coronavirus, eight deaths, announces free four year old kindergarten, regional schools to open early


Another eight Victorians have died from the virus, taking the state’s death toll to 745.

Melbourne’s crucial 14-day case average has fallen to 44.4, its lowest level since the height of the second coronavirus wave.

Free kinder to continue

Victorian sessional kindergarten will remain free for most families in the fourth term.
The state government will provide $26.7 million in additional funding for early childhood services set to reopen on October 5.

The government will provide about $500 per enrolled child to community-based, local government and school providers to provide free access to 15 hours of kindergarten per week.

The government will also provide extra funding for cleaning.

“This has been a tough year for all of us – including some of our littlest Victorians. We’ll give some extra help to families and childhood services as our kinder kids [get] back on-site and we take careful steps towards COVID normal,” Mr Andrews said.

Education Minister James Merlino said there would also be additional help for vulnerable children.

Mr Merlino said $4 million would be set aside to help with schooling transition by bringing teachers to kindergartens to engage with children starting school in 2021 as school tours for those children would not be possible this year.

Mr Merlino also confirmed that primary schools in regional Victoria would be able to receive students from October 5 instead of the originally slated start date of October 12, due to regional Victoria’s low numbers.

“They will make a decision about whether they have their preps on the Monday or the great six the Monday but the transition will happen in that first week,” he said.

Mr Merlino said there was no changes to the plans for regional high schools, and no changes from the roadmap plan for metropolitan Melbourne for any schools.

Average down but concern at Casey cluster

Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Professor Allen Cheng said a cluster in the Casey local government area – mainly around Hallam and Narre Warren – was of concern for health authorities.

Half of today’s 28 cases are linked to known clusters, including five from Casey.

Professor Cheng said there was a number of different households linked to the Casey cluster.

“There’s a number of households they are but we are looking into that and trying to find out where everyone has been so we can make sure the transmission chains are controlled,” he said.

The 14-day average fell below 50 for the first time since the peak of the second surge in cases on Wednesday to 49.6. In its road map to recovery, the state government said restrictions would only start to ease from the end of September in Melbourne if the 14-day average remained between 30 and 50 cases.

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The state recorded 42 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, but the overall tally of cases only increased by 32 after 10 cases were reclassified due to duplication. Of the new cases reported on Wednesday, 29 were linked to known outbreaks but 13 remain under investigation.

Health officials have added three new locations to the list of high-risk COVID-19 exposure sites in Melbourne.

Anyone who visited Clifton Hill Mitre 10 last Thursday (September 10), Craigieburn Shopping Centre last Friday (September 11) and KFC at Westgate Port Melbourne last Thursday and Friday (September 10 and September 11) is being urged to monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they feel unwell.

In regional Victoria, residents can now have visitors to their homes, restaurants and cafes can have seated indoor and outdoor dining, beauty services can reopen and people can gather in groups of 10 outside.

Geelong residents were enjoying brunch at cafes for the first time in weeks on Thursday morning.

Of his area’s new-found freedom, Wharf Shed cafe owner Andrew Clark said: “It tastes fantastic …

“It’s a great day for regional Victoria and for the hospitality industry – we’re open at long last with restrictions,” he told the Today show.

“We have a limit of 20 per venue and an outside limit of 50, but we’re working [with] that.

“We really feel for Melbourne people – we just hope they abide by the rules.”

In an effort to stop Melburnians travelling to regional Victoria, police checkpoints have been beefed-up.

Police and Australian Defence Force personnel were stopping every single car and truck at the Nar Nar Goon checkpoint near Pakenham on Melbourne’s eastern outskirts on Thursday morning.

Melburnians face an almost $5000 fine for trying to travel to the country without a valid reason.

Deputy Commissioner of regional operations Rick Nugent announced the new $4957 fine on Tuesday for “failure to comply with a requirement to remain in a restricted area”.

Mr Nugent added police would check every car towing caravans or boats during the upcoming September school holidays.

The fine will apply to every person found in a group travelling. For example, a couple travelling would each receive a $4957 fine and be sent home.

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28 new cases recorded, eight more deaths


Victoria has recorded 28 new coronavirus infections as daily cases continue to trend downwards.

It’s the lowest number of daily cases in Victoria since 20 infections were recorded on June 24.

It means the average daily case number for metropolitan Melbourne continues to fall and now sits at 44.4, meaning Melbourne is on track for a much-anticipated easing of restrictions.

Metropolitan Melbourne must reach an average daily case rate of between 30 and 50 cases over the preceding fortnight to trigger an easing of lockdown measures from September 28.

The daily average in regional Victoria is 2.9.

The daily average case number is calculated by averaging out the number of new cases over the past 14 days.

There are 83 cases from an unknown source in metropolitan Melbourne, up two from Wednesday, and one case in regional Victoria.

Restrictions eased to stage 2 in regional Victoria overnight, meaning there are now no restrictions on reasons for travel and restaurants and pubs and cafes can reopen for onsite service with safety measures in place.

Melburnians caught trying to flee the city into regional Victoria have been warned they could be fined almost $5000 for leaving the restricted area without a valid reason.

A new offence of failing to comply with the requirement to remain in a restricted area will come into force from 11.59pm on Wednesday.

Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said police would be highly visible and active to prevent Melburnians from entering country Victoria, particularly during school holidays.

“We do not want regional and rural communities to be put at risk by Melbourne metropolitan people,” Mr Nugent said on Wednesday.

The figures were released by the Department of Health and Human Services over Twitter on Thursday morning, with more detail expected later at the Premier’s media conference.

Eight more people have died from the virus, taking the state’s death toll since the start of the pandemic to 745.

The total number of coronavirus cases recorded in Victoria since the start of the pandemic is about 19,960.

jack.paynter@news.com.au



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Victoria records new 35 cases of COVID-19, seven deaths


Victoria has recorded 35 new cases of coronavirus in the past day and another seven deaths.

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It comes as playgrounds reopened across Melbourne this morning and single people are now allowed to have one visitor in their social bubble, in the first easing of Melbourne’s stage four restrictions today.

On Sunday, the Victorian government announced a $3 billion rescue package for businesses.

For the state to move to step two in the road map out of restrictions, the 14 day average needs to get below 50 by September 28.

The 14 day average was not immediately available.

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