Covid rules eased in parts of Victoria, lowest cases since June

A witness has recalled on live radio the moment a man wielding what she described as a knife was shot by police. Source 10 News First

A witness has recalled on live radio the moment a man wielding what she described as a knife was shot by police. Source 10 News First

Other politicians have called on the government to use immigration detention centres to house the returnees - a method initially used for nationals returning from Wuhan, but abandoned once the virus spread globally.

Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state, on Wednesday reported eight deaths from COVID-19 and 42 new cases, down from daily case highs above 700 in early August.

An epidemiologist last month told a judicial inquiry into Victoria's hotel quarantine that almost all of the state's second wave of cases could be traced back to returned travellers in two hotels in May and June. That is the lowest total since June 24, when 20 new cases were recorded.

"We're going to be working very closely with regional health services to try and limit the amount of trips that health care workers, in particular surgeons, are making to regional Victoria, to try and manage their surgical lists in such a way that they're not making regular trips to regional Victoria", she said. "There are some heart-wrenching stories", Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said.

However, residents in Melbourne, which moved from stage four to the first step of the roadmap for reopening since midnight of last Sunday with modest changes including more social interaction and more time outside, are still not allowed to travel to regional Victoria. With case numbers under control, pressure is mounting on the government to allow thousands of Australians stranded overseas by border closures to travel home.

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Construction sites, manufacturing plants, warehouses and childcare facilities can reopen, allowing more than 100,000 workers to return to their jobs, if the 14-day rolling average is under 50 cases as of September 28.

Tonight, restrictions across regional Victoria will ease.

Residents in regional areas of Australia's second-most populous state can now have outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people and cafes will be able to seat up to 50 people outside. Hundreds died in aged care homes as the virus swept through facilities, infecting thousands of residents and staff. Clusters also emerged at schools, abattoirs and hospitals after security bungles at hotels used to quarantine worldwide travellers allowed the virus to leak back into the community. "Little kids are the hardest in terms of a home learning environment", he said.

The group has also issued a petition to the Victorian Legislative Council requesting the industry to reopen safely, which can be signed by Victorian residents.

All Victorians must wear a face covering when they leave home, no matter where they live.

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