World news – Melbourne hits 14-day average target as regional Victoria prepares for next step


Melbourne’s 14-day daily coronavirus case average has dropped below 50, as the state records 42 new infections overnight.

« Whether it is a very targeted local personal way, your family, your community, your friends or whether it be statewide terms, this strategy is working. »

The State Government has also announced elective surgery will start resuming across the state in stages from tomorrow.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the elective surgery timetable closely followed the roadmaps, meaning regional Victoria would increase to 75 per cent of elective surgery capacity from tomorrow.

Elective surgeries will resume in metropolitan Melbourne from September 28, when it is due to enter the second step of its roadmap if case numbers remain low enough.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said the 14-day rolling average in Metropolitan Melbourne was now 49.6, down from 52.9 yesterday.

In order for Melbourne to progress to the second step of the restrictions roadmap on September 28, it must record a 14-day average between 30 and 50 cases per day.

Mr Andrews said the State Government would make a decision on easing Melbourne’s restrictions only when the 14-day average was under 50 « for a decent period ».

« It needs to be in that band of 30 to 50, and we need to wait a little bit longer, » he said.

« I know that’s challenging but, as we’ve said, we are on track to getting to that 30–50 band and staying there so we can take significant steps. »

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said earlier this week that the September 28 date for Melbourne would not change even if the trigger point was reached ahead of schedule.

« We need that time for the [policy] settings that we have, but I am very confident we will be in the 30–50 range for average daily cases, » he said on Monday.

The 14-day average in regional Victoria has also dropped slightly, from 3.6 yesterday to 3.5 today.

Regional Victoria will move to the third step of its recovery roadmap from midnight, after yesterday hitting the trigger points of a 14-day case average below five and no « mystery » cases for two weeks.

People will be allowed to leave their homes for any reason and small public gatherings will be permitted.

However masks will remain mandatory, and there will still be tight restrictions on visitors to people’s homes.

The numbers come as the Victorian Government faces a new legal challenge, this time on behalf of people who lost their jobs due to restrictions imposed during the second wave.

Lawyer Tony Carbone, who is representing one of the workers behind the class action, said the State Government’s « negligence » in managing the hotel quarantine program caused the latest lockdowns.

« We’re suing for people’s loss of income, » he told ABC News Breakfast this morning, stressing that job losses prior to the second wave were not included.

This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)


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