Victoria’s daily coronavirus death toll has surged on Monday, with an unprecedented 41 deaths, making it Australia’s deadliest day of the pandemic by far.
The previous highest daily death toll was 25 on August 17.
The Department of Health and Human Services said 22 of the deaths were over several weeks leading up to August 27 and had been reported by aged care facilities on Sunday.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said just eight of those deaths were in the previous 24 hours.
“There are Commonwealth reporting obligations, state reporting processes, and we need to reconcile those cases, so that whatever the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre is reporting is absolutely consistent,” Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton explained.
“But it is heartbreaking to see a number of that magnitude, but it is a reflection of just how vulnerable those populations are.”
While the state’s handling of the virus in aged care will come under intense scrutiny once again after Monday’s grim death toll, there was positive news in terms of daily cases.
Daily coronavirus infections dropped below 100 again, recording its lowest total since the peak of the second wave.
The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed a further 73 cases.
On Saturday, the state dropped below 100 daily cases for the first time since July 5 with 94 cases.
Professor Sutton said the cases indicated the state was “more or less on track”.
He predicted daily cases should be around 40 to 50 by the end of the week.
Roadmap out of restrictions to be delivered Sunday
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg hit out at Mr Andrews on Monday morning after his Labor government has repeatedly refused to offer an insight into the state’s route out of its most stringent lockdown yet.
“The damage is immense, yet the Premier hasn't provided a road map out,” he told ABC Breakfast.
“The damage to the Victorian economy will go for years, and it's worse than first thought. And that is why the Victorian Premier needs to provide a road map out of stage 4.”
Mr Frydenberg spoke of the federal government’s three stage plan that was delivered during the nation’s exit from the first wave restrictions and how a similar model is needed.
“We worked with the National Cabinet on the detailed activities, the number of people who could gather. It related to retail, recreation, restaurants,” he said.
“We haven't seen any of that detail from the Victorian government.”
Addressing the media on Monday, Mr Andrews said the state would announce a roadmap out of restrictions this Sunday, September 6.
“It is too early today to settle that roadmap and to lock that in as it were,” he said.
“Another week's data is critically important to make sure that the strategy continues to work and for us to have a better sense of how long it will take to drive these numbers down to very, very low numbers so that they can be contained, uncontrolled without the need to put restrictions back.”
Deputy CMO says Sept 13 Stage 4 exit unlikely
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said on Monday morning it was difficult to see Melbourne coming out of its stage-four restrictions on September 13, given the current numbers.
"It's hard to see that happening," Dr Coatsworth told Nine Network.
"I think the numbers need to be a lot less than they are now."
Dr Coatsworth compared the state to NSW and Queensland, which are recording less than 10 new daily cases.
Mr Andrews said he could not rule out Stage 4 restrictions continuing beyond its six-week course.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.