Victoria has had eight more COVID-19 deaths as new cases rose slightly to 55.
The fatalities take the state’s toll to 683 and the national figure to 770.
While the case numbers on Sept. 8 are up on the 41 recorded on Sept. 7, it wasn’t a major spike.
Victorians are now fixated on the two-week case average, which will be a key indicator for the government’s roadmap out of the state’s second outbreak.
As criticism of the plan mounts, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says comparison with NSW don’t stack up.
The Victorian government went on a media blitz on Monday to defend its “safe and steady” pathway out of its second wave, which is likely to keep Melbourne under strict lockdown until the end of October.
On Sept. 7, Victoria’s 41 new cases were the lowest daily figure since June 26, while NSW was back in single digits at four.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Sydney would be subject to curfew under the Andrews plan and made a thinly veiled swipe at Victoria’s contact tracing capability, saying NSW was the “gold standard”.
But Andrews dismissed the comparisons, noting NSW had not experienced the same level of community transmissions as Victoria.
“That’s not a point of pride, that’s just a fact,” he told reporters.
“I’ve seen this commentary that under our settings, they’d be in lockdown – no they wouldn’t; because they’ve not had the community transmission that we’ve had.
“We are different.”
Business leaders are also unimpressed by Victoria’s reopening plan.
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell called on the state government to cover the costs of small business closures.
Meanwhile, Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott is demanding the release of modelling that underpins the roadmap.
Andrews said Victoria couldn’t afford to bounce in and out of lockdown for the rest of 2020 and potentially all of 2021, but flagged business support was on the way.
By Callum Godde