Victorians eager to live a freer existence cannot depend on lockdowns loosening in three weeks’ time, authorities say.
A six-week period of tough restrictions in Melbourne and slightly less onerous rules in the regions are due for review on September 13.
New infections on Friday dipped below 200 for the first time in five and half weeks – showing restrictions are working.
Premier Daniel Andrews and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton say the latest infection numbers are encouraging, but maintain a cautious tone, and offered no clarity on the pathway out of lockdowns.
Prof Sutton said that while lockdowns were reducing general community transmission it was outbreaks in aged care and disability that remained a challenge.
“They might end up with a baseline level of transmission that is harder to shift,” he said.
There are 1732 active cases across 126 aged care sites. The 10 most infected aged care facilities range between 107 and 209 cases each, according to government data.
Across the state there are 4421 active cases, including 626 people in hospital, of which 40 are receiving intensive care.
The state’s death toll is now at 385 after nine more deaths were recorded on Friday.
The premier urged Victorians not to waver in their lockdown efforts, saying the state was not even halfway through an “ultra-marathon”.
He was pleased the daily testing rate in the 24 hours to Friday was above 20,000 after dipping lower earlier in the week.
Meanwhile, the state’s inquiry into the hotel quarantine scheme heard from a security supervisor that he “had to keep an eye on” a couple of guards to ensure they didn’t leave their posts, fall asleep or spend too much time on their phones.
He had assumed they were fired, but later discovered they had been moved to a different hotel.
The supervisor, who was subcontracted by Wilson Security, said he was concerned by the amount of “subcontracting on top of subcontracting”.
Australian Associated Press