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Most of regional Victoria may come out of lockdown next week but "significant restrictions" will remain, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.
Seven new cases were reported in regional Victoria on Wednesday, including five cases in Shepparton, one in Geelong and another in Seymour.
The state government has released a cautious road map out of coronavirus restrictions, including the reopening of playgrounds from Friday.
Victoria will remain under stay-at-home rules until 70 per cent of people receive at least one vaccine dose, which is expected to be reached by September 23.
However, Mr Andrews flagged there will be "some positive news for regional Victoria next week", which will apply to those living outside Shepparton.
"If we put Shepparton to one side for a moment, because there is some localised issues there, we think we will be able to end the lockdown in the rest of regional Victoria next week," he said.
"Exactly when, we will confirm as soon as we can."
He warned it will not be a "full opening up" for those regional areas, as there will still be "significant restrictions".
"There will not be hundreds of people at the pub or the restaurant or the cafe, but there will be activity that is possible and safe and that will be in excess of what's happening in Melbourne, because cases are very different, the epidemiology of regional Victoria is very different," he said.
"And of course, no one other than those who are authorised will be able to go to regional Victoria from metropolitan Melbourne."
Mr Andrews said no decision had been made on when restrictions could be eased in Shepparton, but he hopes the town will move "as close behind" the rest of regional Victoria as possible.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said all five cases in Shepparton on Wednesday were in quarantine for their infectious period.
He said health teams will continue to assess regional Victoria's epidemiology on a day-to-day basis.
"It is on the right track and looking much more positive and we will make a decision in the coming week over exactly what we can do in regional Victoria," Prof Sutton said.
COVID Response Commander Jeroen Weimar said there were still 6500 primary close contacts in Shepparton, with day 13 tests starting on Thursday.