Coronavirus Victoria: State records 63 new cases ahead of lockdown announcement

Victoria has recorded another 63 coronavirus cases and five further deaths in the past 24 hours.

The numbers were released Sunday morning by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services ahead of a highly anticipated press conference by premier Daniel Andrews later today which will outline the roadmap for the state to emerge from lockdown.

The latest figures take Victoria’s coronavirus death toll to 666.

It comes as the state registered another 76 coronavirus cases in the 24 hour period to Saturday from more than 15,800 tests.

Protective services officers patrol along the St Kilda Beach on September 3. Source: Getty
Protective services officers patrol along the St Kilda Beach on September 3. Source: Getty

Mr Andrews said opening with numbers as high as they currently are would “see the total number of coronavirus infections explode.”

On Saturday, Victoria’s Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton said cases were on “an ongoing slow and steady decline”.

“We are on the winning stretch now, there's no question. This is the last gasp of the virus, and we need to work harder than maybe we've ever done before to make sure that that last gasp is, indeed, the last one.”

Mr Andrews has cautioned that today’s roadmap announcement likely won’t contain hard dates on when lockdown measures will ease, but will give the public and businesses a better idea of where the data needs to be for the state to begin opening up.

While there is hope regional Victoria could see a loosening of Stage 3 restrictions soon, there is an expectation that Stage 4 lockdown measures in Melbourne will be extended by a number of weeks.

According to the ABC, in modelling commissioned by the Victorian government, modellers simulated what would happen if the state started to ease restrictions when the average of new daily cases was at 25. In that situation, more often than not, it was projected there would be a rebound to the level of more lockdowns at Christmas.

The graph below shows the number of active cases in Victoria, which will need to continue to drop before restrictions are eased.

The graph shows the number of active cases in Victoria. Source: DHHS Victoria
The graph shows the number of active cases in Victoria. Source: DHHS Victoria

Speaking to the ABC on Sunday morning, Professor Marylouise McLaws from UNSW said modelling shows that new cases need to be below 99 cases in total over a 14-day period to open up safely.

“I would expect that the lifting of restrictions would include those that are very safe. For example, allowing people outside. Allowing people compassionately to see a few others. Particularly outside, not indoors yet. So no dinner parties. No having people over for barbecues yet, but seeing people outside because we know that with better air flow, you're at much less risk of acquiring it and spreading it,” she said.

Prof McLaws also said the curfew could remain in place until October.

“The next lift would be the curfew because we know that right in the centre of this third wave, we had about 44 per cent of cases which are 29 to 39-year-olds, they have many multiple part-time jobs where they are meeting lots of people and the curfew helped to keep that connectivity down,” she said.

“So that would be a restriction to be lifted perhaps at the end of the month at the beginning of October.”

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