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Victoria remains on track to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions, as 41 new infections recorded

Seven more deaths and 41 fresh cases is the latest COVID-19 snapshot from Victoria.

The figures, released on Sunday for the past 24 hours, take the state’s death toll to 723 and the national count to 810 since the start of the pandemic.

The number of new diagnoses keeps the state on track for its plan to ease lockdown restrictions in coming weeks. Regional Victoria is expected to ease its restrictions within days.

As that occurs, Premier Daniel Andrews said road checkpoints may be stepped up to make sure Melburnians don’t escape to the country.

Victoria’s two weeks of low infection rates has prompted Mr Andrews to indicate the possibility that regional Victoria could jump two steps out of lockdown by mid-next week.

This will mean, among other things, that regional residents would very soon be able to go out for a coffee or meal.

Mr Andrews said he wasn’t worried about Melbourne residents trying to get to regional areas because travel limits of 5km are still in place in the city for some time.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews addresses the media during a press conference

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews addresses the media during a press conference.

AAP

But he said police checkpoints on key roads out of Melbourne could be bolstered to ensure compliance.

“It may go to a new level to make sure that only those who absolutely need to be travelling into country Victoria are doing that,” he said.

Small anti-lockdown protests happened in Melbourne on Saturday and more are expected on Sunday.

Police arrested 14 people and fined at least 50 for breaching health directions.

Peaceful protesters in central Melbourne were vastly outnumbered by police.

A woman is detained during a planned anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on 12 September, 2020.

A woman is detained during a planned anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on 12 September, 2020.

AAP

Meanwhile, the strain of lockdown on young Victorians is visible in hospital and mental health helpline statistics when compared to the same period in 2019.

Young people presenting to emergency for intentional self-harm and suicidal ideation is higher than the same period last year by 27 per cent.

Mental health support via telephone has risen by 31 per cent.

Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline crisis support on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 (for young people aged 5 to 25). More information is available at Beyond Blue.org.au and lifeline.org.au

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

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