Daniel Andrews eases Victoria restrictions, Melbourne curfew scrapped, NSW records no COVID-19 cases, Australia death toll at 870

“The course will be closed, not just the clubhouse, but the course will be closed, for another three weeks,” Mr Andrews said.

“It is my view and my hope that we will be able to make a change to that in about three weeks’ time.

“And then not have to further restrict that activity ever again. We would be able to make that change and lock it in.

“It is just too early for us to do it now.

“Not to turn the whole press conference about golf but say, OK, you have can play but you can’t play more than five kilometres away from home, we will end up with large amount of people compressed into a small amount of public all courses that don’t have the staff and ability to be able to manage that.

“You create an opportunity or create a further opportunity for a large crowd together and that just doesn’t make sense.

“A two-hour limit will apply anyway so I think it is much better, rather than giving away some very small but quite complex and potentially dangerous things today, we wait for three weeks and then we can go back to something that is very close to normal when it comes to those activities.

“I know that will not be what many people want to hear but that in the judgement of the experts, that is safe to do now but it won’t be there forever.”

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Coronavirus Australia live updates September 27: Melbourne curfew lifted, restrictions eased as roadmap moves into step two; NSW records no new cases of COVID-19 for first time in almost three months; Victoria records 16 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths

Limits on shopping, outdoor gatherings and visiting patients in hospitals are among further changes to come into effect for Melbourne residents from 11.59pm tonight.

Residents will be permitted to meet outside in groups of up to five people from two households.

“That is more than what we had hoped to be able to achieve,” Mr Andrews said in announcing the changes.

“It’s not as much as people would want, but it is very important that we take those steps safely.”

The limit of one person going shopping once per day will also be removed.

“But I would just say go shopping for the things you need when you need them,” Mr Andrews said.

“It doesn’t need to be just a solo, one person any longer, but that is not an invitation… for an entire family group to go to the supermarket.

“That is not consistent with us limiting the spread of this virus.”

One person will also be allowed to visit a friend or relative in hospital once each day for a maximum of two hours.

For those under 18 years of age, two parents or carers can visit with no time limit.

“At times of great stress it is really important to be able to be as close to loved ones as is safe,” he said.

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Victoria records 16 new coronavirus cases and two deaths as Melbourne 14-day average falls

Victoria has recorded 16 new coronavirus cases and two further deaths overnight, as Melburnians prepare for the next step of restrictions being eased in the city.

Metropolitan Melbourne’s 14-day daily case average dropped again overnight, from 23.6 yesterday to 22.1 today.

Regional Victoria’s rolling average is now 0.6, a slight drop from 0.8 yesterday.

Melbourne is set to progress to step two of the ‘roadmap’ out of restrictions from tomorrow, with announcements about what rules will change expected later today.

Premier Daniel Andrews’ coronavirus press conference has been scheduled for 12:30pm AEST.

The criteria for Melbourne’s second step was recording a 14-day average between 30 and 50 before September 28.

From tomorrow, people from a maximum of two households will be allowed to gather in groups of up to five, and outdoor exercise with a personal trainer will be permitted.

Some industries will be allowed to move from “heavily restricted” to “restricted” environments, which will allow an estimated 101,000 people to return to their workplaces.

Earlier in the week the Premier indicated he was considering making more announcements than initially planned, however experts have said they are are not expecting dramatic changes from the existing roadmap.

On Friday, Mr Andrews flagged that the third step of Melbourne’s roadmap of restrictions, which is currently scheduled for October 26, might be able to happen sooner.

“The positive thing out of these last few weeks since we announced the roadmap is we are ahead of schedule,” he said on Friday.

Yesterday the Premier said there was a “a lot of work going on” to finalise today’s announcements.

“We are going to have not only a situation where we can make announcements [on Sunday] — then, with the trajectory that we are on, through the hard work of Victorians, we will be able to take further steps next month,” he said.

But Mr Andrews said Melbourne “won’t be throwing the doors open” yet.

“The place is not opened up tomorrow. I will be clear about that,” he said.

“People can be optimistic and positive about the fact the numbers are coming down.”

More than 150 coronavirus fines issued overnight

A man who said he was not carrying a mask “because it was too heavy”, and a woman who was reported to police for visiting western Victorian city Horsham every two weeks, are among those who were fined for breaching coronavirus restrictions overnight.

Victoria Police issued 152 fines overnight, including 55 for breaching Melbourne’s curfew and 17 for failing to wear a face covering.

More to come.

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India records world’s second-highest coronavirus tally, passing Brazil

India has now reported 4.2 million coronavirus infections and overtaken Brazil as the country with the second-highest number of cases of the virus in the world.

The 90,802 new cases reported on Monday pushed India’s total to 4,204,614, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, passing Brazil which has an estimated 4.1 million. India has a population of about 1.3 billion while Brazil’s is about 210 million.

The increase was the third straight daily record in India.

Meanwhile, more than 6.2 million people in the United States (population about 330 million) have been infected.

India’s Health Ministry on Monday also reported 1,016 deaths from COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours, taking fatalities to 71,642, the third-highest national death toll.

Nearly 193,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States and while 126,000 have died in Brazil.

Amid a surge in cases, India continues to reopen, except in high-risk areas, to heal the battered economy which is still reeling from the effects of a prolonged lockdown.

Experts say there is no sign of a peak as cases surge in the world’s second-most-populous country, both in major cities such as New Delhi and the financial hub of Mumbai and rural areas that have limited access to health services.

“It’s becoming a double burden now,” Rajib Dasgupta, a professor of community health at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in the capital, told Reuters.

A woman holds up a thermometer to a man's face.
India’s health authorities say the increase in reported cases partially reflects an increase in testing.(AP Photo: Rafiq Maqbool)

The Delhi Metro transit system that serves India’s sprawling capital New Delhi and adjoining areas resumed operations on Monday after five months. Masks, social distancing and temperature checks were mandatory.

Bars will open from Wednesday in the capital.

Partial metro train services also opened in the western city of Ahmedabad, the northern city of Lucknow and several other places, after nearly six months of suspension over the pandemic.

Pressure is growing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pull the economy out of a deep freeze after a severe lockdown in March shuttered businesses, leaving millions without jobs, bringing a 24 per cent contraction in June-quarter GDP.

India has been recording the world’s largest daily coronavirus caseload for almost a month even as the Government pushes to open businesses to revive a contracting economy.

Health authorities say the rising infections also reflect higher rates of testing nationwide, adding that high recovery rates show its strategy of testing, tracing and treatment is working and the situation is under control in a country of its size.

However, the virus is reaching cities and towns previously spared, offsetting marginal declines in some states. 


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Coronavirus Australia live updates September 7: four new cases in NSW; Victoria records 41 coronavirus cases, 9 deaths; Aussies to get free vaccine from early next year; Queensland nurse diagnosed at Ipswich hospital; Daniel Andrews confident about roadmap out of lockdown Sydney schools close

Dr Kerry Chant said an investigation is underway into how healthcare workers contracted coronavirus while wearing surgical masks and full protective gear.

“Were obviously very keen to look at how transmission occurred in these settings,” Dr Chant said.

“I think this just highlights the fact that there could be fomite transmission.”

This means the virus could have been contracted from a surface or object.

“What that means in lay terms is if your hands are contaminated and then you’re touching computer screens, or touching pens and pencils, pieces of paper, can you actually transmit the virus,” Dr Chant said, adding “it is actually very hard to never touch your face”, and there a number of ways the virus can enter the body.

She reminded people that it is safe to visit hospitals and emergency departments.

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Victoria records 41 COVID-19 cases, Daniel Andrews unveils lockdown road map, Qld border debate continues, Australia death toll at 762

These restrictions are tougher than for the rest of the country and limit gatherings to just 10 people.

Face masks are now compulsory on public transport, too.

Two of the new cases on Monday are in returned travellers from India, while the other two are community cases linked to the Auckland cluster.

There are now four people in hospital, with one in intensive care, which is also a drop in hospitalisations compared to last week.

The total number of community cases has dropped to 77 people, while the number of cases in returned travellers has reached 41 people.

Most of the new cases in returned travellers are linked to a pair of Air India flights that arrived in New Zealand in late August.

More regular testing for officials working at the border and in the managed isolation and quarantine facilities have been introduced as of Monday, too.

Those working in the quarantine system will now be tested once every seven days and those people working at the Ports of Auckland and the Port of Tauranga and Auckland International Airport will be tested every two weeks.

The country has now recorded 818,629 tests, including a relatively low 3991 tests on Sunday, while 1425 cases in total have been recorded.

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Victoria records 41 new coronavirus cases, the lowest daily tally in more than two months

Victoria has recorded 41 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the lowest daily tally in more than two months, and nine more deaths.

Monday’s tally marks a significant decrease in daily case numbers after 63 new infections were reported on Sunday.

Australia’s coronavirus death toll is now 762, including 675 people in Victoria.

The new figures come a day after Premier Daniel Andrews announced Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne would be extended by at least two weeks as he delivered a roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions.

Under the plan, Melburnians will be forced to remain in their home until at least the end of September, with most restrictions, including the nightly curfew, to remain in place until at least 26 October.

Business leaders and owners have criticised the ongoing restrictions, warning the plan will result in further job losses. 

“Today’s so-called Victorian roadmap to recovery is a document of despair for industry and their employees,” said Innes Willox on Sunday, the chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, the peak body for employers.

“Rather than providing the hope and optimism required, along with clear and measurable steps for businesses to open up, today’s announcement will only prolong the economic and social pain that all Victorians are feeling.”

While Stage 4 restrictions will remain for an additional two weeks, Mr Andrews announced some changes to take effect from 14 September. These include the curfew being pushed back to 9pm-5am, a doubling of the permitted exercise time to two hours, and a “social bubble” system for people who live alone to nominate one permitted visitor.

“We can’t run out of lockdown … I want a Christmas that is as close to normal as possible and this is the only way,” he said on Sunday.

“Pretending it’s over because we want it to be, that is not something I will do.”

Victorian deputy premier James Merlino said the government is doing all it can to have the economy moving again in a COVID-safe way.

Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said owners are struggling under the weight of costs, including rent, equipment leases, loans and an accumulation of worker entitlements.

“What small businesses are telling us is that they are giving up,” she told Nine’s Today program on Monday.

“For many of them, they are not going to be open until the end of November.”

Mr Merlino said the worst thing the government could do for business was open up and then a few weeks later reimpose restrictions because of a third wave.

“You’ve got to get the (infection) numbers down … and once we do that then we can have a much broader reopening of our economy,” he told ABC radio.

Mr Merlino believes the state’s voters are behind the government’s suppression strategy.

“People are with us and they don’t want to be put at risk,” he said.

“People understand that we need to ease restrictions safely and steadily.”

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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Victoria records 41 new coronavirus cases and nine COVID-19 deaths

Victoria has reported 41 new coronavirus cases and nine further deaths, the state’s health department says.

The rise in cases is the state’s lowest single-day increase more than 10 weeks, when 41 new cases were reported on June 27.

It comes after the State Government unveiled its “roadmap to recovery” outlining four phases Victoria will progress through as restrictions are lifted.

Stage 4 restrictions will continue in metropolitan Melbourne for another fortnight beyond September 13, when they were originally due to end.

In order for restrictions to be lifted further the city must record an average of between 30 and 50 new cases a day over a two-week period.

More to come.

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