Victoria has recorded 114 new cases of coronavirus and 11 additional deaths.
The figures, confirmed by the Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday, bring the state’s toll of the virus to 524 and the national total to 611.
The figure comes a day after the state recorded 94 new cases – the first time cases have fallen below the triple-digit mark since July 5.
Prime Minister Daniel Andrews urged Victorians on Saturday to persevere with strict lockdowns as daily coronavirus infections drop to double digits.
Victoria has recorded 114 new coronavirus cases and 11 more deaths (pictured, a Melbourne resident walks his dog on Saturday)
The figures, confirmed by the Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday, bring the state’s toll of the virus to 524 and the national total to 611 (in the photo, residents wearing face masks are walking in Melbourne on Saturday)
“Absolutely, this strategy is working,” Andrews told reporters.
“We all need to find a way to stay the course.
The Melburnians are subject to another fortnight of strict Fourth Leg restrictions, including an 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. curfew and Mr Andrews said the benefits of the first four weeks were starting to show.
Regional Victorians are subject to slightly less stringent stage three restrictions for the same period.
Mr Andrews was reluctant to rush back to normalcy, saying the path back to normalcy would be based on “science and data and evidence”.
One of the first issues to be addressed when restrictions are relaxed could be people living alone who have spent weeks with little human interaction.
“We want to try to support them and all Victorians with a clear, dedicated, logical but also meaningful opening plan, but it is just a bit too early,” said Andrews.
Restrictions in Melbourne are due to expire on September 13, but will be gradually reduced rather than removed altogether.
Health officials have indicated the recommendations for face masks could remain in place for several months.
Prime Minister Daniel Andrews (pictured) urged Victorians on Saturday to persevere with strict lockdowns as daily coronavirus infections drop to double digits
Mr Andrews was hesitant to rush back to normalcy, saying the path back to normalcy would be based on ‘science, data and evidence’ (pictured, Melburnians are enjoying the spring sun on Saturday)
Elderly care facilities remained a concern, with 1,055 active cases in the area. Sixteen of the last 18 deaths were related to elderly care.
Restriction violations remain a problem, with police issuing 195 fines in 24 hours until Saturday morning.
In the meantime, a potential solution to the political deadlock over the government’s will to extend the state of emergency beyond September 13 may be near.
Victorian Upper House MP Fiona Patten said on Saturday she could get the support needed to reach a deal with the government for a six-month extension of the state of emergency.
The leader of the Party of Reason said in a statement on Saturday that in its proposal, the government would obtain an extension of its powers allowing it to write and pass specific COVID-19 laws until March, not them. 12 months later.
Health officials have said recommendations for face masks could stay in place for several more months (pictured, a Melburnian is sitting in the sun on Saturday)
The government should inform small parties and independents once a month, justifying the maintenance of the state of emergency.
If the government wants to extend powers beyond March, it will have to come back to Parliament to plead it again.
“It is a fair arrangement which I think could win the support of several of my colleagues and pass parliament – but with a small margin,” said Ms Patten.
A spokesperson for Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said on Saturday evening that no deal had been reached.
Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien wants Parliament to sit monthly during the state of emergency to determine whether the powers are warranted.