Victoria records four new coronavirus cases and one death as Daniel Andrews refuses to lose the ‘ring of steel’ around Melbourne and keeps struggling retail and pubs shut
- It’s the sixth day the state recorded an increase in new cases in single digits
- There are 15 cases for the fortnight up to Friday which have no known source
- The 14-day rolling average in Melbourne is 7.2 and in regional Victoria it’s 0.5
Victoria has recorded four new coronavirus cases and one death, bringing the state’s toll from the virus to 817 and the national figure to 905.
It’s the sixth day in a row the state has recorded an increase in new cases in the single digits.
The figures, confirmed by the Department of Health and Human Services on Monday, bring Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average down to 7.2.
Regional Victoria’s two-week case average remains at 0.5.
There are 15 cases for the fortnight up to Friday which have no known source.
People wait to be tested at the Goulburn Valley Health-Mcintosh COVID-19 testing facility in Shepparton on October 15
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured centre) arrives to a press conference in Melbourne on October 18
It comes as Victorians woke to more freedom on Monday after COVID-19 restrictions were eased overnight.
Melburnians are now allowed to travel 25km from home and there will be no limit on time spent outdoors.
Outdoor gatherings have an increased limit from five people to ten from two households, while facilities such as skate parks, golf courses and tennis courts will reopen.
Melburnians will also be able to get a haircut, see an allied health professional, renovate their home, wash their car and bid at an auction, though a number of strict safety protocols will be in place.
It’s the sixth day in a row the state has recorded an increase in new cases in the single digits
A woman is seen sitting on a blockage by Luna Park during COVID-19 in St Kilda on October 18
‘I have announced today what is safe but will not undermine the sacrifice, the hard work, the pain, the amazing efforts that Victorians have put in,’ Mr Andrews told reporters on Sunday.
In regional Victoria, up to two people plus dependents will be allowed to visit homes once a day, while hospitality venues can increase their capacity to 70 people outside and 40 people inside.
The ‘ring of steel’ that separates metropolitan Melbourne from regional Victoria will remain in place.
Melbourne will take another step on November 2, with hospitality venues able to seat 50 people outside and 20 people inside, while retail and beauty and personal care services can resume.
People will be allowed to host a maximum of two people plus dependents at their homes once a day.
Police are seen in large numbers patrolling the grounds of Luna Park during COVID-19 in St Kilda on October 18
Mr Andrews, however, indicated the next step could be brought forward, depending on case numbers across Victoria in the next week.
But many industry groups are not impressed.
Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said it was an ‘an inexplicable and unacceptable delay’.
‘There is no sound reason to continue the restrictions on business, especially with case numbers clearly on a downward trajectory,’ she said in a statement.
The Australian Industry Group’s Victorian head Tim Piper said businesses and Victorians expected more.
‘There is still no long-term coherent plan to rebuild a shattered Victorian economy,’ Mr Piper said.
Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said restrictions should have been eased further, especially with respect to small businesses.
VICTORIA’S PATHWAY OUT OF LOCKDOWN
The state government has mapped a new pathway out of lockdown for metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria that depends on stamping out COVID-19 cases in the community which have an unknown source.
STEP ONE: From 11:59pm Sunday
* Two-hour outdoor time limit scrapped
* 5km travel restriction extended to 25km
* Outdoor gatherings up from five to 10
* Face-to-face allied health appointments to resume
* Tennis courts, golf courses and skate parks will reopen
* Outdoor swimming pools open to a maximum of 30 swimmers
* Hairdressers can reopen
* Outdoor real estate auctions permitted with up to 10 people, plus staff
STEP TWO: From 11:59pm on November 1:
* Up to two people, plus dependents, allowed to visit a home per day
* All retail shops can open
* Hospitality: maximum of 20 indoor seated customers (subject to one per four sqm), maximum of 50 outdoor patrons (subject to one per two sqm)
* Beauty and personal care services open
* Wedding groups of up to 10 permitted
* Up to 20 mourners allowed at funerals
* Outdoor religious gatherings and ceremonies capped at 20 people
MAJOR RESTRICTIONS REMAIN:
* Approved face masks must be worn at all times outside home
* Work from home if possible
* All businesses must have a COVID-safe plan