Saturday, April 13, 2024

Victorian daily case average headed in right direction

Victoria has recorded 42 new COVID-19 cases and eight deaths in the latest 24-hour reporting period.

Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average has now officially dropped below 50, with restrictions on regional communities set to reduce from midnight tonight.

According to Premier Daniel Andrews’ COVID recovery roadmap, should the Melbourne average stay between 30 and 50 cases per day, restrictions on metropolitan residents could also be eased by September 28.

From midnight tonight, regional Victorians will move to the government’s “third step” of the reopening roadmap.

“Importantly, these steps are guided by clear targets – giving Victorians greater insight into our progress, and ensuring that when it comes to taking our next step forward, we can do so confidently,” the Premier said in a statement.

“Thanks to the efforts of every Victorian, we’ve reached our very first target.

“Having reached a 14-day average of 3.6 and with no mystery cases, regional Victoria has reached the necessary “trigger point” in our roadmap – meaning our public health experts have advised that we can take this next step.”

He said the milestone was  “testament to the determination of regional Victorians. A determination to not only get these numbers low – but to keep them low.”

It’s also good news for every Victorian, wherever they live, he said.

“Because it shows – in very real terms – the strategy is working. The hard work of all Victorians is paying off.”

He said the move to stage 3 meant changes for our regional Victorians live and work in the state.

“As we’ve outlined under the roadmap, “household bubbles” will now be a possibility,” said Mr Andrews.

“That means, your household can choose one other household to be in a bubble. You can visit them in their home. They can visit you in your home – with up to a total of five visitors. 

“I understand some people will likely want more and sooner. But the bubble arrangement means people can begin to visit each other at home slowly, cautiously – so that if the worst were to happen, we can effectively track and trace the spread of the virus.

“If you are catching up with friends and family, we encourage you to do it outside. All the latest evidence says being outdoors reduces the risk. To that end, people will be able to gather in groups of ten in outdoor public places, without a limit on the number of households.”

He said outdoor contact and non-contact sport would begin for regional Victorians aged 18 and under, as well as outdoor non-contact sport for adults.

“And there’ll be a staged return to onsite learning for all regional students in the first two weeks of Term Four.”

The numbers for weddings and funerals will increase, and religious gatherings can happen outdoors with up to 10 people.

“Hospitality businesses will be able to serve patrons outdoors, with a cap of 50 seated patrons per venue, and an updated ‘two square metre’ density limit in place,” he said.

“Indoors, venues can open with a cap of 10 seated customers per space – with up to two spaces per venue – and in line with the existing ‘four square metre’ density rule.”

Tables must be spaced at least 1.5m apart, cleaned after every customer and the details of all patrons must be kept under the new measures.

He said these arrangements would also pave the way for Melbourne’s return to dining.

Beauty and personal care services will also be available with a face covering. Outdoor events like a play in the park or an open-air cinema can take place, in accordance with other restrictions.

Regional real estate agents will be able to hold auctions outdoors with up to 10 people.

And travel can resume for regional Victorians holidaying anywhere in regional Victoria.

“All businesses across Victoria – regional and in Melbourne – will also be required to have a COVIDSafe Plan, enforceable from 28 September,” the Premier said.

“I want to remind Victorians, in every corner of the state, that even as the rules change, the need to follow them doesn’t.

“I know sometimes that’s tedious. It’s frustrating. It’s boring. I promise, I’m right there with you.

“But we shouldn’t lose sight that the rules are there to keep us safe – and keep us on-track for opening.

“That’s why I’m urging Melburnians, please – don’t try to travel into regional communities unless it’s for one of those permitted reasons.”

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