Victoria announced 471 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, down from a record-breaking daily tally of 725 a day earlier.
Eight more deaths from COVID-19 have also been announced, including two men in their 60s, three men and two women in their 80s, and one woman in her 90s. Four of the deaths are linked to aged care facilities.
The total number of active cases in the state is now 7,449, including 1,533 related to aged care outbreaks.
A further 107 mystery cases have also been added to the state’s tally of community transmission, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday.
Victoria’s state coroner is currently investigating the deaths of five residents at St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Fawkner. The facility is linked to at least 20 COVID-19 deaths.
The Australian newspaper on Thursday published what it reported as “secret” Victorian government modelling. claiming average daily cases would peak at 1,100 by the end of next week and stay above 1,000 for a week after.
But Mr Andrews and Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said they had never seen such modelling.
Prof Cheng said “the danger with an exact figure is it gives an illusion of certainty and we certainly don’t have that certainty”.
Tough new restrictions for businesses in Melbourne also came into effect on Thursday, with the majority of retail stores closed and workers still permitted to work onsite required to carry a permit.
Businesses caught issuing permits to workers who do not meet the requirements face fines of up to $99,123, while individuals can be fined up to $19,826.
Mr Andrews said a number of arrangements had been made between the government and industries subject to reducing their workforce, including meat processing and abattoirs.
Red meat production will be reduced to two-thirds of its usual operation, while poultry processing will reduce to 80 per cent.
“All of these measures are designed to drive down to the lowest numbers of workers we can practically get to without at the same time delivering a shortage of products,” he said.
“I wouldn’t want anyone to think there’s going to be empty shelves … Everyone will do their utmost, their absolute best, to make sure what you need is on the shelf.”
Regional Victoria has entered Stage 3 restrictions, with residents only able to leave their homes for four reasons: to shop for food and essential items, to provide or receive care, to exercise, and to work and study if they can’t from home.
Meanwhile, an extra $5 million in federal government funding has been announced for mental health support in Victoria.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the focus for the new support will be on year 11 and 12 students and young adults,with the money to be divided among the Kids Helpline, Lifeline and Beyond Blue.
Metropolitan Melbourne residents are subject to Stage 4 restrictions and must comply with a curfew between the hours of 8pm and 5am. During the curfew, people in Melbourne can only leave their house for work, and essential health, care or safety reasons.
Between 5am and 8pm, people in Melbourne can leave the home for exercise, to shop for necessary goods and services, for work, for health care, or to care for a sick or elderly relative. The full list of restrictions can be found here.
All Victorians must wear a face covering when they leave home, no matter where they live.
People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus
Additional reporting by AAP.