Victoria records 116 more COVID-19 cases in past 24 hours and 15 deaths

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Victoria reported her smallest increase in COVID-19 infections in seven weeks with 116 new cases and 15 more deaths on Monday.

The number is the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in the struggling state since July 5, when 67 cases were diagnosed.

The latest deaths bring the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 430 and the national figure to 517.

But the number of new cases has dropped to 116 from Sunday’s figure of 208.

Victoria reported its smallest increase in COVID-19 infections in seven weeks with 116 new cases and 15 additional deaths on Monday (Bourke St Mall in Melbourne pictured during Stage 4 lockdown)

Victoria reported her smallest increase in COVID-19 infections in seven weeks with 116 new cases and 15 more deaths on Monday (women wearing masks in Ballarat)

Victoria reported her smallest increase in COVID-19 infections in seven weeks with 116 new cases and 15 more deaths on Monday (women wearing masks in Ballarat)

Melbourne's once popular Royal Arcade shopping center is quiet and deserted with the fourth stage lockdown closing almost all non-food retail outlets

Melbourne’s once popular Royal Arcade shopping center is quiet and deserted with the fourth stage lockdown closing almost all non-food retail outlets

Halfway through the lockdown, Victoria’s health official has defiantly said he will not let go of the state’s hard-fought gains on COVID-19.

Brett Sutton had predicted Sunday that the numbers could drop below 150 this week.

He added that although the number of daily cases had “jumped”, he expected them to be on a downward trajectory.

He was still optimistic after the new cases returned to above 200 on Sunday.

“We’re not going to see 300 and 400 (cases) again in Victoria under my watch, at least,” he told reporters.

“We have a strategy that reduces cases.”

With 3,920 so-called mystery cases, Professor Sutton warned that the restrictions would not be fully lifted until community transmission was eradicated.

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said the bad weather over the weekend was an “absolute blessing” and hoped it meant more people would stay at home.

The Prime Minister has warned that Victoria will be crushed by a ‘third wave’ if the lockdowns are lifted too soon.

Halfway through the lockdown, Victoria's health director Brett Sutton defiantly said he would not let the state's hard-fought COVID-19 gains slip away

Halfway through the lockdown, Victoria’s health director Brett Sutton defiantly said he would not let the state’s hard-fought COVID-19 gains slip away

The iconic Hosier Lane in Melbourne's central business district is also empty as no one is allowed to walk around

The iconic Hosier Lane in Melbourne’s central business district is also empty as no one is allowed to walk around

The crippling Fourth Stage lockdown is expected to end on September 13, but the government has refused to rule out its extension.

Melbourne residents still have at least three additional weeks of Stage Four restrictions, including a nighttime curfew, while regional Victorians live under slightly cheaper level three restrictions.

As the number of new cases drop as the Victorians are confined to their homes, Mr Andrews is avoiding calls to ease restrictions early.

The Prime Minister acknowledged that everyone wanted to get back to “something close to normal” as quickly as possible, but it couldn’t be too soon.

“Whether we like it or not, we have to recognize this key point: if we start to open up before we have overcome this second wave, then we will only be at the beginning of a third wave,” he said. declared.

“It doesn’t benefit anyone. It will just mean that folks – we could all feel a little better for a very short period of time and then the numbers will go up and we’ll be back to where we are now.

Medical staff perform COVID-19 test on patient at coronavirus testing center in Ballarat on Friday

Medical staff perform COVID-19 test on patient at coronavirus testing center in Ballarat on Friday

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said bad weather over the weekend was an 'absolute blessing' and hoped it would mean more people stayed at home

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said bad weather over the weekend was an ‘absolute blessing’ and hoped it would mean more people stayed home

Mr Andrews again signaled that the restrictions would remain until there was a vaccine, and the goal was to reduce the number of cases, not eliminate.

“We have to beat this stuff and bring those numbers down to such a low level that we can keep them under wraps,” he said.

“Not just for a week or two, but actually remove them, turn it off where possible, but remove it with every chance that you can keep those numbers low until of course the final vaccine. come. “

But her rhetoric indicated that even if Melbourne got out of Stage Four on time, it would remain stuck in Stage Three for weeks or months more.

While the Prof Sutton predicted the numbers could drop below 150 this week, he said the restrictions would not be fully lifted until community transmission is eradicated.

He also said the Melburnians will wear face masks in public beyond the easing of the Fourth Stage.

Mr Andrews said masks will be a part of life for a long time, with careful hand washing and physical distancing.

Hearings for the state’s inquiry into the failed hotel quarantine program will resume Monday with further testimony from hotel security personnel.

Last week’s investigation found poorly performing security guards had been moved between quarantine hotels, while returning travelers feared catching COVID-19 during their stay.

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