Victoria could face a State of Emergency until September 2021 under new proposals from Premier Daniel Andrews.
The news comes on a day when Victoria’s daily coronavirus infections dropped significantly, returning to below 200 once again.
The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed a further 116 cases on Monday while announcing 15 deaths.
It is the lowest daily infections total since July 5 and follows 208 cases and 17 deaths on Sunday.
“We are on the verge of getting into double digits,” Mr Andrews told reporters as he thanked those adhering to restrictions.
Monday’s total is the third time in four days cases have been below 200 and provides further evidence Stage 4 restrictions are driving case numbers down as Melbourne reaches the halfway point of its six-week course.
There have been 45 deaths in the last three days, with the state’s death toll now at 430.
Monday’s victims are three females and five males in their 80s, four females and two males in their 90s, and one female in her 100s.
There are 629 people in hospital, 31 of those in intensive care and 17 needing ventilators.
On Monday there was an additional 100 unknown cases, with the state’s total at 4,028.
Premier seeks to extend State of Emergency by up to a year
Mr Andrews announced the state government will seek to extend the State of Emergency provisions by 12 months, with the current State of Emergency expiring on September 13 after six months.
"That is the legal instrument that allows Government to enforce rules about facemasks, about COVID safe work plans in workplaces large and small, density limits in pubs and cafes and restaurants, requiring positive people to isolate at home,” he said.
"We simply can't have those important roles in the legal framework that sits behind them end on 13 September.”
The move must be approved by parliament and Mr Andrews said the State of Emergency would be renewed in four-week blocks, potentially up to September 2021.
He says the state of emergency will remain necessary until a vaccine is available.
Premier warns fatigue could trigger third wave
While sympathising with Victorians over how difficult the restrictions are, Mr Andrews called on the state to continue to follow the restrictions to ensure all the hard work to date doesn’t go to waste.
“This is a very difficult day for those 15 families [of Monday’s victims], it is a very difficult day for many other Victorians out of work, who have a sense of uncertainty, and indeed a fatigue.
“But if we don't see this through, if we don't stay the course, then all of that sacrifice, all of that pain and loss, will be for nothing.
“Because we won't have defeated the second wave, we will be entering a third wave”.
With 3920 so-called mystery cases, Professor Sutton warned restrictions would not be lifted in full until community transmission is eradicated.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the weekend's bad weather was an "absolute blessing" and hoped it meant more people stayed at home.
However it is feared the extreme conditions deterred people seeking to get tested on Sunday.
Mr Andrews and Prof Sutton have repeatedly stressed testing rates need to remain above 20,000 tests a day for the state to leave Stage 4 restrictions after a 17 per cent drop last week.
There were 14,811 tests performed in the previous 24 hours, Mr Andrews confirmed on Monday.
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