Victorian premier delays plan to end lockdowns despite lowest infection rate in weeks

Victorian leader Daniel Andrews told Melburnians it’s “too early” to worry about breaking lockdown as he moves back his “roadmap” to the weekend for recovery.

New COVID-19 infections in Victoria have plunged to 73 overnight – the lowest daily total in weeks – but Mr Andrews says it takes another week to determine the fate of the Victorians living under draconian lockdowns.

“This strategy is working, but it is too early for us to either open up right now, or put forward a detailed road map as to what that opening up will look like,” he said.

“Another week’s data is critically important to make sure that the strategy continues to work and for us to have a better sense of how long it will take to drive these numbers down to very, very low numbers so that they can be contained uncontrolled without the need to put restrictions back on over not just weeks and months, but over a longer period, finding that COVID-19 normal and looking at in for many months.”

Mr Andrews held his press conference with news that 41 new deaths from coronavirus had been reported but most of the deaths were from previous weeks, with eight people dying in the last 24 hours.

He said Victorians would have to agree to sweeping social distancing restrictions before
Stage Four lockdown rules were lightened in the road map to recovery blueprint.

“There will be a number of key principles that underpin this opening up road map,” he said.

“Firstly, we have to ensure that physical distancing including following density requirements, making sure staff work from home wherever possible, eliminating the total number of staff and customers in any enclosed area, and stopping carpooling.

“It has to be a feature of opening up and getting people back to work. Wearing a face covering at all times in the workplace and ensuring that PPE is used, particularly in those higher risk industries.

Requiring hygienic workplaces, so things like high touch points being regularly cleaned, staff regularly washing their hands, the availability and the use of hand sanitiser, so on and so forth.”

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