Victoria’s number of daily coronavirus infections has dropped after rising over the past two days.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced 51 new cases and a further seven deaths on Thursday.
It follows 76 cases and 11 deaths on Wednesday, while there were 55 cases and eight deaths on Tuesday and 41 cases and nine deaths on Monday.
It makes Thursday’s infections total the second lowest since the peak of the second wave.
The state’s death toll has now surpassed the grim milestone of 700 deaths, reaching 701 fatalities with the latest increase. The national death toll stands at 788.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton had said he would have liked to have been at about 40 to 50 daily cases by last Sunday.
Dr Norman Swan, the ABC’s medical expert and face of the corporation’s coronavirus coverage, said Wednesday’s rise in cases prompted “cause for concern”.
However after Thursday’s figures, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ruth Vine, tasked with heading the mental health response to the pandemic, urged Melburnians to “hold the course” as numbers appeared to be “heading in the right direction”.
“Clearly we are all chomping at the bit to be able to go beyond five kilometres and do other things so I do think we need to hold the course, we have had that explained to us,” she told ABC Breakfast.
“We need to keep reminding and ourselves and each other how to live in this way, to maintain our social connectedness, to exercise, to structure our day and give ourselves small pleasures.”
On Wednesday, Premier Daniel Andrews said the state would continue to utilise its sewage surveillance in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria in order to determine whether the virus was present in the community.
The government said sewage samples at the coastal town of Apollo Bay, southwest of Melbourne, had revealed signs the virus was circulating, prompting health authorities to increase testing in the area.
However a testing blitz in the area has so far failed to reveal any positive cases.
More to come.
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