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Australia Melbourne's coronavirus restrictions set to ease slightly as Daniel Andrews prepares to detail roadmap's 'second step'

23:00  26 september  2020
23:00  26 september  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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Melburnians are anxiously awaiting another Sunday press conference from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who has flagged a slight fast-tracking of some parts of his restrictions roadmap today.

Mr Andrews unveiled a five-step "roadmap to reopening" earlier this month, which outlined a staged program to ease restrictions before reaching "COVID normal".

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Melbourne hit its case-number target for the second step — an average between 30–50 per day over a two-week period — ahead of schedule. The 14-day average of daily cases is 23.6, paving the way for some additional restrictions to be eased.

On Thursday, Mr Andrew said the continuing drop in new cases proved the Government's suppression strategy was working.

"We are well on track on Sunday to make some further announcements," he said.

[embed: 14-day average]

However he cautioned restriction-weary Victorians not to get too excited, saying today would not be "a day of massive steps".

"It will be, however, a day of steady and safe steps, and that gradual continual progress is what we've been able to do because we have a gradual and continued decline in those numbers," he said.

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The Premier has provided few hints about what additional restrictions could be eased.

When asked for more detail at a press conference yesterday, he would only say: "We are consistent with the types of easing that's been foreshadowed in that roadmap … so there's no dramatic departure from that.

"But there are a couple of areas where we can say and do more, and we will finalise those this evening, and we will be able to talk about those tomorrow.

"Again, we are not throwing the doors open tomorrow — the place is not opened up tomorrow — and I've tried to be clear about that.

"But people can be optimistic and positive about the fact that these numbers are coming down.

"Once you get them low, you can keep them low. That's what the science and logic tells you.

"But I do hope tomorrow to be able to talk a little bit more about what October looks like and the fact that we are ahead of schedule."

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He said while the trend was positive, "it's simply not available to us to try and, kind of, chance this and say, 'Well I think we're going to be OK, so we'll open it up now'".

Some Melburnians to head back to work, school and child care

As it stands, the second step of the roadmap allows for:

  • More workplaces reopening, and the return of about 100,000 people to work
  • Public gatherings of five people from two households, outdoors
  • A staged return of some students to school
  • Child care reopening
  • Pools reopening and personal training sessions with up to two clients
  • Outdoor religious gatherings with five people and a leader

Mr Andrews said on Thursday that he was in talks with meatworks, distribution centres and the construction industry about proposals to get more staff back to work.

Regional Victoria has already moved to the third step of its roadmap.

October 26 is the date for Melbourne to take that step, if the state records an average of fewer than five daily new cases and fewer than five mystery cases over a two-week period.

The city is due to move towards the final step by November 23, if there are no new cases across the state for two weeks.

If there are no new cases for 28 days, no active cases and "no outbreaks of concern" in other states and territories, restrictions will be relaxed further and the city will move to "COVID normal".

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