13 Aug 2020

Covid-19: Victoria case numbers continue to fall

5:00 pm on 13 August 2020

Victoria has recorded its lowest daily increase in coronavirus cases in more than three weeks, with 278 new infections reported in the past 24 hours.

Police officers and soldiers patrol a popular running track in Melbourne on 4 August, 2020 after the state announced new restrictions as the city battles fresh outbreaks of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Police officers and soldiers patrol a popular running track in Melbourne after the state announced new restrictions as the city battles fresh outbreaks of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Photo: AFP

Today's increase of 278 is the first time the state's daily number of new cases has dipped below 300 in more than two weeks, and is Victoria's lowest daily increase since 20 July, when it reported 275 cases.

The state has also recorded its lowest daily death toll in a week, with eight new deaths reported.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the numbers "continue a weekly trend".

"I'm not going to get into trying to call these things definitively about turning corners and things of that nature. I don't know that that's very helpful," he said.

"What this shows you, not just today's numbers as a single day, but if you look at the trend over the last seven days or so, these stage 4 restrictions - as heartbreaking, as challenging as painful as they are - are working.

But Andrews said the government was not getting "ahead of ourselves".

"We would just caution against any Victorian thinking that we aren't in the midst of a real marathon," he said.

The premier announced the payment for people who have to self-isolate and therefore cannot work while waiting for a Covid-19 test result would increase from $300 to $450, starting today.

The decision comes after consultation with unions and employers.

"We think $450 is a better reckoning for the loss of income," he said.

The state government has already made 17,000 of the $300 payments to people who don't have sick leave to fall back on.

Expanded testing push to combat rise in regional cases Andrews said four of the deaths reported today were connected to aged care.

The latest deaths include one woman in her 50s, two men in their 70s, two women and two men in their 80s and one man in his 90s.

Andrews said the state government had taken over three aged care facilities of "particular concern" in the west of Melbourne.

Victoria's state premier Daniel Andrews speaks during a press conference in Melbourne on August 5, 2020.

Premier Daniel Andrews. Photo: AFP

There are now 664 Victorians in hospital, including 37 in intensive care.

The premier also announced additional staff would be rostered on across a number of testing sites in Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo, where authorities have seen "significant growth" in cases.

Victoria's deputy chief health officer Allen Cheng said authorities were considering whether stage 4 restrictions were needed in regional areas.

"It's a day-by-day proposition and we really encourage the community to come forward to get tested so that we can get on top of these transmission chains and hopefully obviate the need for stage 4," he said.

Cheng said over the past two weeks, Geelong had seen 176 new coronavirus cases, Bendigo 51 and Ballarat 23.

"A lot of those have been attributed to outbreaks which are coming under control but there is certainly some outbreaks and cases where we don't know where they've come from," he said.

Stage 4 restrictions were first imposed on Melbourne about 10 days ago, including a strict night-time curfew and limiting people's movements to within a 5 kilometre radius of their home.

Most students returned to home-learning last Wednesday and restrictions on who could access childcare came into effect last Thursday.

All of regional Victoria returned to stage 3 restrictions one week ago.

Yesterday Australia recorded its highest daily death toll since the pandemic began, with 21 deaths recorded in Victoria.


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