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Victoria records 114 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths

Victoria has recorded 114 new coronavirus cases and 11 more deaths. 

The figures, confirmed by the Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday, bring the state’s toll from the virus to 524 and the national total to 611. 

It follows 94 new cases on Saturday, which was the first day since July 5 that cases were in the double digits. 

Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday the number of cases were still too high to roll back restrictions. 

‘These case numbers are too high for us to open up, and they are still too high for us to put forward a definitive plan,’ he said.

‘There will be a plan. It will come soon. But it will be one that we can be confident of, not something that potentially gets a few people being happier.’ 

Melburnians are subject to another fortnight of strict stage four restrictions including an 8pm to 5am curfew and Mr Andrews said the benefits from the first four weeks are starting to show.

Regional Victorians are under slightly less strict stage three restrictions for the same period. 

Mr Andrews also said he was confident the second outbreak of COVID-19 was coming under control.  

‘The contact tracing team is bigger than it’s ever been and it will remain larger than the task,’ he said.

‘It’ll be a long, long fight to keep this contained but I think our staff are equal to it.’ 

He reminded residents the fight was far from over, after crowds visited St Kilda beach over the weekend.

‘No day at the beach is worth that.’ 

‘Let’s not make any choices that put at risk all of the progress we have made and could render all of the sacrifice we have made it meaningless. We do not want that,’ he said.  

Restrictions across Melbourne are due to expire on September 13 but will be reduced gradually rather than removed completely.

Health officials have indicated that recommendations for face masks could remain in place for several more months.

Aged care facilities remained a concern, with 1305 active cases in the sector. Sixteen of the latest 18 deaths were linked to aged care.

Breaches of restrictions remain a problem, with police handing out 195 fines in the 24 hours to Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, a potential solution to the political impasse on the government’s desire to extend the state of emergency beyond September 13 could be close.

Victorian upper house MP Fiona Patten said on Saturday she can get the support to make a deal with the government for a sixth-month extension of the state of emergency.

The leader of the Reason Party said in a statement on Saturday that in her proposal, the government would get an extension of powers enabling it to write and pass COVID-19-specific laws until March, not the 12 months it is after.

The government would have to brief minor parties and independents once every month, justifying the continuation of the state of emergency.

If the government wants to extend the powers beyond March, it will have to come back to parliament to argue for it again.

‘This is a fair arrangement that I believe could gain support of several of my colleagues and pass the parliament – only by a small margin though,’ Ms Patten said.

A spokesman for Premier Daniel Andrews said on Saturday evening no deal had been struck.

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien wants the parliament to sit every month during the state of emergency to determine whether the powers are justified. 

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