Victoria records less than 50 new COVID cases for fourth day in a row

·3-min read

Victoria has reported 41 new cases of COVID-19 and seven further deaths, with the latest figures supporting the state's planned easing of lockdown restrictions.

The figures released on Sunday for the past 24 hours take the state's death toll to 723 and the national count to 810 since the start of the pandemic.

The number of new diagnoses keeps the state on track for its plan to ease lockdown restrictions in coming weeks. Regional Victoria is expected to ease its restrictions within days.

Picture of Melbourne CBD.
Victoria has recorded just 41 new COVID cases in 24 hours and six coronavirus deaths. Source: AAP

As that occurs, Premier Daniel Andrews said road checkpoints may be stepped up to make sure Melburnians don't escape to the country.

But he said police checkpoints on key roads out of Melbourne could be bolstered to ensure compliance.

"It may go to a new level to make sure that only those who absolutely need to be travelling into country Victoria are doing that," he said

On Sunday, a video emerged of a dramatic vehicle stop north of Melbourne, where a woman is removed from her car by police.

The footage, filmed by Natalie Bonett, suggests she had refused to give her name to the officer and was subsequently forcibly removed from the car after refusing to get out herself, saying she felt unsafe.

The incident occurred after a masked Ms Bonett had a discussion with an officer about a phone charger attached to her windshield.

The male officer can be heard asking for Ms Bonnett's name and address.

Pictured is Natalie Bonett being removed from her car by police. Source: Facebook/Natalie Bonett
Natalie Bonett filmed a dramatic altercation with police at a Victorian checkpoint. Source: Facebook/Natalie Bonett

"The problem is you're not stating your name to me," the officer is heard saying.

Ms Bonett again refused to get out of the car.

"I don't feel safe. You're armed," she said.

"You're safe, don't you worry about that," the officer replied.

The footage then shows the officer lean into the vehicle as Ms Bonett protests, before she is forcibly removed.

"I am shaking, crying and in complete disbelief that I was treated this way," Ms Bonett wrote of the event, recounting that she was arrested and handcuffed.

Police have been contacted for comment.

Victoria's two weeks of low infection rates has prompted Mr Andrews to indicate the possibility that regional Victoria could jump two steps out of lockdown by mid-next week.

This will mean, among other things, that regional residents would very soon be able to go out for a coffee or meal.

Small anti-lockdown protests happened in Melbourne on Saturday and more are expected on Sunday.

Police arrested 14 people and fined at least 50 for breaching health directions.

Peaceful protesters in central Melbourne were vastly outnumbered by police.

Riot police are seen during an Anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne.
Small anti-lockdown protests happened in Melbourne on Saturday and more are expected on Sunday. Source: AAP

Meanwhile, the strain of lockdown on young Victorians is visible in hospital and mental health helpline statistics when compared to the same period in 2019.

Young people presenting to emergency for intentional self-harm and suicidal ideation is higher than the same period last year by 27 per cent.

Mental health support via telephone has risen by 31 per cent.

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