Victoria’s daily coronavirus death toll has tripled, with 24 new deaths announced on Wednesday morning.
It is the state’s second deadliest day with the number of deaths just one shy of the record 25 deaths reported on August 17, and comes after the daily death toll had dropped to eight on Tuesday.
The new deaths included a woman in her 60s, three men in their 70s, 10 people in their 80s and six women and four men in their 90s.
Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Wednesday 21 of the 24 fatalities were linked to aged care outbreaks.
The Department of Health and Human Services also announced on Wednesday morning 149 new coronavirus cases for the past 24-hour period, continuing the state’s downward trend during its Stage 4 lockdown.
The department sent its condolences to all those who were affected by the latest deaths. The coronavirus death toll has now reached 462 in Victoria, while the nation’s figure has climbed to 549.
Wednesday’s daily cases see an increase of one new daily case on the 148 new cases confirmed on Tuesday.
Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday he would be seeking to extend the parameters of Victoria’s State of Emergency which under the current Public Health and Wellbeing Act is due to expire on September 13.
His proposal, which would give the state government the opportunity to extend the State of Emergency to September 2021 in their fight against the coronavirus, has since faced resistance from several politicians.
Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien has ruled out supporting the bill, which almost all upper-house crossbench MPs oppose in its current form.
The premier said an extended state of emergency would allow Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton to issue "common-sense" directions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
These include rules on face masks, mass gatherings and quarantine as well as density limits for businesses and workplaces.
He stressed the proposed extension did not mean stage four restrictions – also due to end on September 13 – will be in place for another year.
Premier’s plan to reopen Victoria
Mr Andrews told reporters on Wednesday it was important that Professor Sutton was able to continue making rules beyond September 13.
He said that would mean Victoria could reopen and businesses would be able to survive.
“I'm very hopeful that we will get an outcome that allows the Chief Health Officer to continue to do his important work, allows all of the team to continue to make decisions based on science and evidence that are proportionate to the challenges we face,” he said.
“That will underpin us opening up. I think we have just got to think for a moment – imagine the plight of the business that were to open up in just a few weeks' time, and then we don't have the power to keep people who have got this virus at home.
“So, that becomes a kind of an honesty policy. Even a handful of those people, perhaps make the wrong choice, and this gets away from us again. Imagine the impact on that business. Imagine the impact on staff. Imagine the impact across the board.
“There are some basics here, and the ability with legal authority to make sure that someone who is positive with this virus stays at home and stays safe away from other people, you simply can't have an opening-up strategy unless you have the ability to make those sorts of rules.”
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