Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has committed to easing coronavirus restrictions in Melbourne on October 19 despite the city’s failure to suppress the tail end of its second wave.
He told reporters on Thursday it is “highly unlikely” Melbourne won’t take further strides in its roadmap out of lockdown in 11 days time, in what was a strong reassurance to concerned Melburnians over the “stubborn” nature of the virus across the city.
The state recorded 11 new cases on Thursday, the third time in a row a double-digit figure has followed a single-digit daily total.
It is becoming increasingly more difficult to meet the desired target of a 14-day rolling average under five, while mystery cases rose to 14 over 14 days, nine higher than the desired trigger point.
If Melbourne is to meet the target by October 18, the date when Mr Andrews is expected to address the media on Step Three changes, the city would need just over three cases on average a day.
When pressed during Thursday’s press conference whether Melburnians should be resigned to the fact there will be no easing of restrictions come October 19, Mr Andrews responded: “No, I wouldn’t say that.”
"I think it is highly unlikely that nothing will change," Mr Andrews said.
"There will be some changes, the exact nature of those changes we will need to look at.”
Premier says all options on the table for leaving lockdown
When asked if a mid-step in between Step Two and Step Three could be taken, Mr Andrews said: “We’re looking at all those different options.”
“Come October 18, we will look to make as many changes as we safely can.”
He failed to elaborate on whether the changes being considered would be social based or business orientated however he did say “everything is on the table”.
Step Three as indicated by the roadmap is regarded by many as the most significant of the steps, and will see hospitality venues open with outdoor dining while there will be no restrictions on leaving home, including time.
Public gatherings will have a 10-person limit.
On Thursday, Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said the Chadstone cluster had zero additional cases and remains at 31.
When asked if he believed the cluster was contained, he was reluctant to commit to an affirmative answer.
“We only know what we know,” he said.
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