Victoria has reported another 94 coronavirus cases and 18 deaths, the first time the infection numbers have been below 100 in months.
The figure comes as state health authorities said cases were likely to drop below the three figure mark over the coming days.
‘It’s not gotten below 100 yet, I do expect that to happen, if not over the weekend, then by next week, if trends continue,’ Victoria Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Friday.
‘We obviously have to hold the course here.’
Victoria has reported another 94 coronavirus cases and 18 deaths, the first time the infection numbers have been below 100 in months. Pictured: Residents wearing face masks walking near-empty streets in Melbourne
‘It’s not gotten below 100 yet, I do expect that to happen, if not over the weekend, then by next week, if trends continue,’ Victoria Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton (pictured) said on Friday
The number of COVID-19 cases has slowly been dropping in the state over the past week.
Since last Monday there have been no more than 150 new daily coronavirus cases.
Victoria reported 113 new COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths on Friday.
The numbers have fuelled anticipation about the easing of strict stage four restrictions across Melbourne, which include an 8pm to 5am curfew.
But Premier Daniel Andrews remains adamant it is too soon to dramatically relax the rules.
Premier Daniel Andrews remains adamant it is too soon to dramatically relax the rules, despite the state recording its first time the infection numbers have been below 100 in months. Pictured: Victoria’s COVID-19 infections since June
Healthcare workers continue to test for Coronavirus at the MyDoc Healthcare drive through testing station during COVID-19 in Bendigo
‘The notion we would go from stage four to stage two or stage one, all those businesses would be open like a normal second half of the year, normal spring, we’re not going to be able to do that,’ he said.
‘It will have to be gradual and steady because we’ve all got to be really careful to make sure nothing we do makes it more likely that we find ourselves back here at exactly this place.
‘We want to defeat the second wave and properly. That means we can avoid a third wave.’
Mr Andrews plans to extend Victoria’s State of Emergency to 18 months in September, giving the government the power to impose further lockdown restrictions.
Amendments are being made to change it, despite the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 only allowing a State of Emergency to operate for six months.
‘It is not an unlimited extension, it is nothing more than a recognition that this virus won’t be over on September 30,’ the premier said on Monday, August 24.
‘I would love nothing more for there to be no need for any rules on September 14, but I don’t think that is the reality.’
Mr Andrews has received a lot of backlash online, with Victorians labelling his plan as ‘frightening’ and ‘to save his own job for the next 12 months’.
‘No other state has had a State of Emergency this length. he had total control over every aspect of Victorian’s lives. He’s sounding more like the Supreme ruler by the day,’ one person said on Twitter.
‘This is really frightening,’ another tweeted.
‘We cannot let this happen. I am writing to my MPs today and you should too,’ a third person said.
Mr Andrews said the state could not afford to lower the restrictions, and would extend the State of Emergency to 18 months in September. Pictured: A person wearing a face mask walks past Victoria Police, Airforce and ADF personnel outside of the Melbourne Museum
Victoria has reported another 94 coronavirus cases and 18 deaths, the first time the infection numbers have been below 100 in months. Pictured: Collins St in Melbourne’s CBD quiet and deserted on August 23
‘Daniel Andrews just wants to extend the State of Emergency in Victoria to save his own job for the next 12 months,’ a fourth person added.
With fine weather forecast for the weekend, Victorians are being urged to stick with the state’s coronavirus rules.
Residents are required to stick to an 8pm to 5am curfew, only allowed to travel 5km from home and limited to exercising outdoors for an hour.
Victorians in Stage 4 restrictions are only allowed to leave their homes for food, work or study, exercise or compassionate reasons.
They are required to wear a mask anytime they leave the house, unless an exception applies, and are encouraged to get tested, even with the mildest symptoms.
WHAT STATE OF EMERGENCY MEANS
The State of Emergency provides the Chief Health Officer with additional powers to issue directions to help contain the spread of coronavirus and keep Victorians safe.
‘Expanding the powers of the chief health officer will allow us to better protect public health and give our hospitals, GPs and other industries the best fighting chance we can,’ Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said.
Under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 the chief health officer can have their powers expanded in four ways:
- Any person or group in a particular area can be detained to eliminate or reduce a serious risk to public health
- The movement of people within the emergency area can be restricted
- People can be prevented from entering an emergency area
- Authorised officers can make any direction considered reasonably necessary to protect public health
The ’emergency area’ could be defined by the chief health officer and could contain a street, suburb or the state.