Australia

Elective surgeries to resume as Victoria records 42 new infections and eight deaths


Victoria’s coronavirus respite has been brief, with eight deaths taking the state toll to 737 and the national figure to 824.

Tuesday was the first day Victoria had been fatality-free in its second wave since July 13.

Among the latest fatalities, four women and two men were in their 80s and two men were in their 90s. All are aged care-related.

But there was more good news, with Premier Daniel Andrews announcing that elective surgery would start to resume.

Elective surgery had been largely on hold because of the state’s second wave.

Regional Victoria will go up from 50 per cent to 75 per cent of usual surgeries from Wednesday as part of eased restrictions, while Melbourne is likely to go to 75 per cent from September 28.

“We plan to have approximately 18,750 additional elective surgeries across private and public hospitals in October, and an extra 10,500 surgeries across those settings in November,” the premier said.

Victoria’s total active cases have hit a milestone, dropping below 1000 to 991.

“That is very, very significant – it’s been a long time since we’ve had less than 1000 active cases,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Melbourne’s crucial 14-day average of new cases has also dropped below 50.

It is now 49.6, with regional Victoria also falling again to 3.5.

The 14-day rolling average is a key statistic in the state government’s roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions.

Victoria had 42 new cases on Wednesday, the same as Tuesday.

Regional Victoria’s restrictions will ease at midnight, but Melbourne will stay in its stage-four lockdown.

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Authorities are ramping up roadblocks, creating the so-called “ring of steel” around the city to ensure city residents do not try to take advantage of the eased regional measures.

Premier Daniel Andrews has warned motorists travelling out of the city to expect longer wait times as police tighten checkpoints.

“I’m sorry to say it will mean that there will be significant queues, there will be travel issues,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Melbourne’s lockdown rules remain unchanged and people cannot travel out of the city without specific reasons.

The next step for regional Victoria means pubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to serve people outside with strict density quotas, while outdoor gathering limits will be upped to 10.

Regional Victorians will also be able to leave their homes without restriction and all shops can reopen.

The premier said Melburnians should be inspired by the rolling back of restrictions, rather than disheartened.

“I’d encourage people not to see it that way and instead see this as proof positive,” he said.

Melbourne will move to its next step of reopening on September 28 if the 14-day case average keeps falling to between 30-50.

Metropolitan Melbourne residents are subject to Stage 4 restrictions and must comply with a curfew between the hours of 9pm 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 9pm, 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.

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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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