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‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ for Victoria: DCMO

4 weeks ago 18

Victoria is “starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel” as case numbers drop following the state’s deadly second outbreak.

“The rate of growth in the past week shows things are, indeed, coming under control in Victoria,” Dr Nick Coatsworth, Australia’s deputy chief health officer, told reporters on Monday.

“It’s the light at the end of the tunnel that we’re starting to see.”

Dr Coatsworth said while his outlook for Victoria was positive with only 116 new cases announced on Monday, it would not necessarily be smooth sailing to the end.

“We’ve got to be careful because this is gong to be a bumpy ride, and it may well be the case that those numbers come up a little bit over the coming days, but it is substantial reassurance that the overall trend is clearly down,” he said.

Coronavirus cases in Australia have grown to more than 25,000.

Dr Coatsworth said 517 people had been killed by the virus in Australia and 659 people hospitalised – 38 of whom are currently in intensive care.

Monday marked Victoria’s lowest daily increase since July 13, a marked drop from its peak of 725 on August 5 – less than three weeks ago.

Despite this, Premier Daniel Andrews announced the state of emergency would remain in place for another 12 months and tough lockdown restrictions extend past September.

The state of emergency, which gives authorities additional powers to enforce things like face masks and social distancing, was due to run out on September 13, but Mr Andrews said it was not a feasible goal.

“It is not an unlimited extension, it is nothing more than a recognition that this virus won't be over on September 30,” he said.

“I would love nothing more than for there to be no need for any rules on September 14, but I don't think that is the reality.”

Victoria’s state of emergency has been extended six times since it was first brought in for the coronavirus pandemic in March.

Meanwhile, the state’s chief medical officer, Brett Sutton, said he wanted to see new cases of less than 50 per day by September 13.

“I’d love us to be below 50. I would be really gratified if it were in single figures, but I’m not convinced that it will be,” Prof Sutton said.

“I think it’s possible, but I think there are really significant challenges to get there.”

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