Seven new cases of coronavirus were reported in Victoria on Saturday morning, as the state struggles to contain a new outbreak at an Islamic school.
The 14-day rolling average of infections is now down to just five in Melbourne, meaning the city finally meets health bosses target to allow restrictions to ease.
The city’s unknown source or ‘mystery cases’ also remains at 10 as contact tracers rush to find how and from where people contracted COVID-19.
One of the new cases attended East Preston Islamic College as the department encourages families and staff to get tested even if they do not have any symptoms.
One of the new cases attended East Preston Islamic College (pictured) as the department encourages families and staff to get tested even if they do not have any symptoms
Students and their family members, including staff from nearby Croxton School (pictured) are also being urged to get tested
Students and their family members, including staff from nearby Croxton School are also being urged to get tested.
Both schools will be closed for two weeks to undergo deep cleaning while all members get tested.
The rise in cases comes after just one new case was recorded on Friday, helping to drive the rolling average down.
Premier Daniel Andrews said earlier this week that the easing of more restrictions will be announced on Sunday.
‘Every Victorian can be reassured we will only take steps that are safe,’ he said.
‘We’ve come too far to then lose our nerve as a community and rush to COVID-normal.’
The state’s death toll remains at 817 and the national figure 905, with only one death in the past week.
Premier Daniel Andrews said earlier this week that the easing of more restrictions will be announced on Sunday
Retail and hospitality businesses were to remain closed until November 1, but it appears that may be brought forward by a week.
Residents of Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire have been trapped at home since the second lockdown began on July 9.
The city’s second lockdown is currently in its 15th week, although Mr Andrews eased some restrictions last Sunday.
Under the new rules, groups of up to 10 people from two households can gather outdoors and tennis courts, skate parks and golf courses will reopen.
Hairdressers have reopened, outdoor pools can host 30 swimmers, while real estate auctions can take place outdoors with up to 10 bidders.
A unmasked protester picks up what appears to be an orange flare at the anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Friday
But the changes aren’t coming soon enough for some Melburnians, who fears the extended lockdown will reek havoc on the economy.
Wild scenes in the city on Friday saw anti-lockdown protesters clash with police.
Around 300 Melburnians turned out for the rally and walked through the streets chanting ‘freedom’ and calling for Andrews to be sacked. Many refused to wear face masks.
A total of sixteen people were arrested and 61 protesters were fined.
Three police officers were injured during the skirmishes, with one taken to hospital as a precaution.
VICTORIA’S PATHWAY OUT OF LOCKDOWN
The state government has mapped a new pathway out of lockdown for metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria that depends on stamping out COVID-19 cases in the community which have an unknown source.
STEP ONE: From 11:59pm Sunday October 18
* Two-hour outdoor time limit scrapped
* 5km travel restriction extended to 25km
* Outdoor gatherings up from five to 10
* Face-to-face allied health appointments to resume
* Tennis courts, golf courses and skate parks will reopen
* Outdoor swimming pools open to a maximum of 30 swimmers
* Hairdressers can reopen
* Outdoor real estate auctions permitted with up to 10 people, plus staff
STEP TWO: From 11:59pm on November 1:
* Up to two people, plus dependents, allowed to visit a home per day
* All retail shops can open
* Hospitality: maximum of 20 indoor seated customers (subject to one per four sqm), maximum of 50 outdoor patrons (subject to one per two sqm)
* Beauty and personal care services open
* Wedding groups of up to 10 permitted
* Up to 20 mourners allowed at funerals
* Outdoor religious gatherings and ceremonies capped at 20 people
MAJOR RESTRICTIONS REMAIN:
* Approved face masks must be worn at all times outside home
* Work from home if possible
* All businesses must have a COVID-safe plan
Source: Daily Mail AU