BY LIDIA KELLY, REUTERS
Australia’s coronavirus hotspot in Victoria recorded one case of illness on Saturday – the lowest daily number since early June – and no deaths, with the state’s top health official saying the figure was “one-der-ful”.
Victoria’s capital, Melbourne, which has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 spread in the country, is in the third month of a tight lockdown and Prime Minister Daniel Andrews will renew plans to ease statewide restrictions on Sunday.
“We live in hope,” said Brett Sutton, Victoria’s chief health officer, at a televised news conference. Earlier, when the coronavirus numbers were released, he said on his Twitter account: “One. One-der-ful. “
The federal government is increasingly pressing Andrews to reopen the city and state, with Health Secretary Greg Hunt saying on Twitter on Saturday that it was time to relax.
“The epidemiological conditions for Covid Safe to reopen hospitality, movement & family reunions, among others, have now been resolutely met,” said Hunt.
But Andrews, whose Labor government opposes the conservative Liberal Party that leads the federal government, said he would not come under pressure.
“Nobody should suggest that … (we) maintain the restrictions longer than they need to,” Andrews said at a news conference. “We will not risk everything the Victorians have sacrificed.”
Victoria state officials said they would relax restrictions when the average new daily cases over the two-week window fell below five. On Saturday, the 14-day rolling case average was 8.1, down from 8.7 in the previous day.
In neighboring New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, there have been seven new cases of COVID-19, five of which were locally acquired and most linked to the outbreak in child care centers.
Meanwhile, 17 travelers out of the hundreds who flew from New Zealand to Sydney as part of the new trans-Tasman travel bubble, then traveled to Melbourne, which is not part of the bubble, and are being wanted by health authorities, officials in Victoria said. . .
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