The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, says the state’s coronavirus strategy is working but that it must “stay the course” on severe restrictions, after recording another 114 cases and 11 deaths.
Seven new cases were diagnosed in New South Wales and four in Queensland.
Case numbers have reduced in Victoria since a second wave of outbreaks peaked in mid-August.
But Andrews warned it was too early to give Victorians any indication as to when it would be safe to lift restrictions on movement.
“In general terms, we are seeing a fall across each of the key metrics, and the strategy is working,” Andrews said.
“And that is a credit to every Victorian who has made a powerful contribution to that end. But we have to stay the course on this. At [current case numbers], we simply could not open up. Those numbers would explode, we would finish up and perhaps be in an even worse situation than we have been in recent months.
“We cannot fritter away all that good work and sacrifice. That pain, the challenges that every Victorian has endured and worked through, we can’t have that count for nothing. So what we have to do is stay the course.
“Once we see these numbers fall further, once we have certainty, and that will be quite soon, we will be able to talk in more definitive terms about what the weeks and months ahead look like.”
Andrews said he understood the desire of residents for clarity, but that he could not yet make announcements that could be relied upon.
“They need to be announcements that are based in the best of health advice, in data, in science, in the evidence, and what we can be certain of right now, these case numbers are too high for us to open up, and they are still too high for us to put forward a definitive plan.
“Now, there will be a plan. It will come soon.”
Nine of the 11 deaths in Victoria are related to outbreaks at aged care facilities.
The fatalities bring the state’s toll from the virus to 524 and the national total to 611.
Andrews said 382 total deaths were linked to the aged care sector.
Queensland authorities say the state’s four new cases are all linked to a cluster connected to staff at the Brisbane youth detention centre at Wacol.
There are now 120 locations in south-east Queensland subject to a public health alert, based on the work of contact tracers to identify public locations visited by people who have contracted Covid-19.
There are 28 active cases in Queensland.
Health restrictions limiting public gatherings to 10 people have been extended to the Gold Coast and Darling Downs regions in Queensland. The same restrictions remain in place for Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan.
In NSW, the seven new cases include a student at St Paul’s Catholic College at Greystanes, who attended school while infectious, and a staff member at the Surry Hills police cells complex.
The school will be closed on Monday and is being cleaned. NSW Health says “appropriate health and safety measures” are being undertaken at the police cells.
“Contact tracing has been undertaken and the [police cells] staff member is isolating.”
There are 66 active Covid-19 cases in NSW, including six people in intensive care.
Source: The Guardian