Victoria has recorded 35 new cases and seven deaths, as Melbourne takes its first tentative steps out of lockdown.
The figures, confirmed by the Department of Health and Human Services, bring the state’s death toll from the virus to 730 and the national count to 817.
It’s the lowest number of new cases since June 26, when the state recorded 30 infections.
From Monday, Melburnians living alone or single parents will be allowed to have one other visitor as part of a “social bubble.”
Outdoor exercise is extended to two hours split over a maximum of two sessions, allowing social interaction with one other person or household members.
Playgrounds and outdoor fitness equipment will reopen and the nightly curfew will start an hour later at 9pm before finishing at 5 a.m.
The 14-day case average for Melbourne sits at 56.9, inching closer to the sub-50 target.
Melbourne will move to the “second step”, including increased limits for public gatherings and a staged return to school for some students, from Sept. 28 if the average falls to 30-50.
“If you project forward 14 days, you would expect the 14-day rolling average to the end of September would be absolutely no more than 48,” Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said.
“It is more likely to be between 20 and 30, I would hope.”
People in regional Victoria will also enjoy greater freedom from Monday with up to five people able to gather in outdoor places from a maximum of two households.
The five-person limit will also apply for religious services that can resume in regional Victoria if they’re held outdoors with a faith leader.
Authorities are hopeful regional areas could jump two steps out of lockdown by mid-next week, allowing residents to go out for a coffee or meal.
By Benita Kolovos