12 Oct 2021

Health boss 'optimistic' as Victoria sees decline in cases

4:03 pm on 12 October 2021

Victoria has recorded 1466 new community Covid-19 cases and eight deaths, but the state's seven-day average of new cases has fallen for the first time in months.

A woman passes a swan while exercising in Melbourne on September 16, 2021, as the state government announced a loosening of Covid-19 restrictions.

A falling trend in community cases in Victoria is being welcomed as the state battles a Delta outbreak. Photo: AFP

The region's chief health officer Brett Sutton said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the trend in new cases, which has fallen for the first time since August.

"I think it's terrific to have seen a consistent drop over a few days," Professor Sutton said.

"That's not to say that we shouldn't keep our guard up or that we might not see an uptick in cases, but with higher and higher levels of vaccination coverage each and every day in Victoria, across Australia, it does give me hope that we are continuing to suppress the transmission in our hotspot areas in particular."

Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton (R) speaks as state premier Daniel Andrews (L) listens during a press conference in Melbourne on July 22, 2020.

Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton with Premier Daniel Andrews in the background. Photo: AFP

The state's seven-day daily case average has dipped slightly to around 1690, putting it at the lower end of the peak forecast for this month by the Burnet Institute.

The institute's modelling, which has underpinned Victoria's roadmaps out of lockdown, predicted the state would reach a seven-day daily case average of between 1400 and 2900 towards the end of October.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the fall in new cases over the past two days was a good sign.

"That's positive, we obviously hope that trend continues," he said

"We've referred a number of times to the experience in New South Wales where when they reached 50 percent double-dosed they experienced a bit of a turnaround."

Hospitals prepare for peak demand later this month

Health Minister Martin Foley has announced the government would recruit up to 1000 healthcare workers currently living overseas, including Australians wanting to come home, to ease pressure on the state's hospital system.

The government will spend $A2.5 million ($NZ2.64m) to help their relocation.

Frontline health workers will also be eligible for a new Hospital Surge Support Allowance of up to $60 per shift over the next four months.

Good times ahead - premier

Premier Dominic Perrottet says summer will be "boom time" for NSW after the state recorded 360 new Covid-19 cases and five deaths.

This morning the state government announced new business support measures in a bid to stimulate the economy after lengthy lockdowns in large parts of NSW.

If a local lockdown is imposed between 1 December and 31 January 2022 small businesses (with an annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million) will be eligible for compensation to cover the loss of their perishable stock of up to $20,000.

The stock guarantee comes into effect on 1 December, which is when the JobSaver programme ends.

In a departure from his predecessor Gladys Berejiklian, Perrottet dubbed yesterday's easing of lockdown restrictions in Greater Sydney and its surrounds as "freedom day".

Berejiklian had avoided using the term.

Perrottet described yesterday as a "great day for the state".

"Tolerance, respect and kindness was in full display from the people of our state yesterday," he said.

People have their cut at a salon in Sydney on October 11, 2021, as Sydney ended their lockdown against the Covid-19 coronavirus after 106 days.

People take the chance to get a haircut at a Sydney salon as a 106-day lockdown is eased. Photo: AFP

He said it was the government's intention to not go back into statewide lockdown but that "there may be the need from time to time for restrictions to be put in place".

Meanwhile, the Australian Capital Territory has recorded 28 new community cases.

Out of the total cases, 22 are linked to other known cases or clusters, with 14 of these household contacts.

There are currently 19 people in hospital with the virus - a record for this outbreak. Eight people are in intensive care and six are requiring ventilation.

The ACT has now reached 72 percent full vaccination coverage for people over the age of 12.


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