Victoria’s lockdown will be eased and Melbourne’s curfew scrapped – while NSW has recorded no new cases overnight in welcome news in Australia’s fight against COVID-19.
Melbourne’s all-important rolling 14-day case average dropped to 22.1 cases on Sunday while Victoria’s is at 0.6.
That means the step two easing of Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions can be applied tomorrow, in a welcome relief for Melbourne residents suffering tight Stage Four lockdown conditions and a curfew since August 2.
In more good news, New South Wales reported no new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.
Interstate borders are opening up, meaning a travel bubble is ahead. People may not be able to travel overseas but they will be able to holiday interstate, bringing much-needed business to tourism operators hit hard by the virus.
* Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced Melbourne’s 9pm to 5am curfew will be lifted on Monday and thousands of people will return to work as the state rolls back COVID-19 restrictions.
* Under the rule changes from 11.59pm on Sunday, 127,000 people can return to work, childcare reopens and outdoor gatherings of up to five from two households are permitted.
* Victoria’s Year 12 students will also return to school for assessments from October 4, with primary school students back on-site on October 12.
* Melbourne’s two-hour exercise limit and 5km travel restriction remain but Mr Andrews foreshadowed full freedom of movement could come on October 19 ahead of AFL grand final weekend.
* Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt welcomed the changes while heaping fresh pressure on Victoria to safely ease more restrictions quicker.
* It came as Victoria reported 16 new cases and two deaths on Sunday, taking the state’s death toll to 784 and the national figure to 872.
* Melbourne’s rolling 14-day case average dropped to 22.1 cases, while re Victoria’s sits at 0.6.
* Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham is hopeful a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand can be put in place by the end of the year.
* The Australian government also announced $250 million to boost tourism and infrastructure in Australia’s regions which have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
* NSW recorded no new infections for the first time since June 10, but health officials urged people to remain vigilant as the school holidays start.
* Western Australia reported seven new cases linked to a ship anchored off the coast near Port Hedland. The infections were publicly disclosed on Saturday. There are now nine confirmed cases on board.
* Queensland announced one new case on Sunday, a returned overseas traveller in hotel quarantine.
* September 14 to September 27 – stage four lockdown for Melbourne with some changes, including the curfew moving back an hour to 9pm.
* September 27 – NSW, Queensland and WA will start taking more international arrivals.
* September 28 – Melbourne’s 9pm to 5am curfew repealed, 127,000 people can return to work, childcare reopens and outdoor gatherings of up to five from two households are permitted among other rule changes.
* October 1 – Residents of Byron Shire, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley including Casino and Evans Head, Glen Innes and 41 other NSW postcodes will be added to the Queensland-NSW border bubble.
* October 5 – VCE and VCAL students back at school for tests
* October 12 – Melbourne primary school students to return to on-site learning
* October 26 – Tasmania’s state of emergency due to expire. In Melbourne, the overnight curfew will be dropped if – over the previous fortnight – the average number of new cases falls below five and there are fewer than five cases from an unknown source.
* November – Victoria’s hotel quarantine inquiry report due.
* November 23 – If there are no new cases for 14 days in Melbourne, the city will move to the ‘last step’. That includes all retail shops opening, public gatherings of up to 50 people allowed outdoors, and up to 20 visitors at a time allowed into a home.
AUSTRALIAN CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS
* There were 24 new cases in Australia – 16 in Victoria, seven in WA and one in Queensland.
* The national death toll increased by two to 872:
New South Wales 55
Western Australia 9
South Australia 4
Australian Capital Territory 3
Two Queensland residents who died in NSW have been included in the official tolls of both states.
GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS
* Cases: at least 32,844,000
* Deaths: at least 994,000
* Recovered: at least 22,717,000
Data current as of 1800 AEST September 27, taking in federal government and state/territory government updates, Worldometer and Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre.
Video: South Australia government to announce large increase in hazard-reduction burns (Sky News Australia)