Melbourne’s crucial virus case average has risen, further dampening hopes of lockdown provisions being eased next week.
There were no deaths for the fourth time in five days, but there were 15 new cases—the fifth-straight day of double-digit infections.
Melbourne’s 14-day average of new cases went up from 9.3 to 9.7, but stayed at 0.4 for regional areas.
There were 11 mystery cases in Melbourne from Sept. 26 to Oct. 9 and none in regional Victoria.
Meanwhile, parents across Melbourne are breathing sighs of relief as primary school and VCE students return to classrooms after almost 10 weeks.
Year seven students and special school students are also resuming on-site learning on Monday, while year 10 students enrolled in a VCE or VCAL program will be able to attend on-site for those classes.
Students in years eight to ten are due to return in a fortnight.
It comes as Victoria’s state of emergency and state of disaster were extended to 11.59 p.m. on Nov. 8, while Premier Daniel Andrews looks at relaxing restrictions.
Authorities had wanted the two-week rolling daily case average to fall to five, with less than five mystery cases, for the city’s lockdown to ease in line with regional Victoria.
Andrews again flagged on Oct. 11 that Melbourne won’t be ready to take a “full step” to eased restrictions on Oct. 19, but hinted restrictions on outdoor activities were likely to be relaxed.
“It will be the stuff that people are really missing,” he said.
He also indicated businesses in regional Victoria were more likely to see relief than those in Melbourne.
“I think there’ll be more economic things that can happen in regional Victoria because the numbers are low,” he said.
“Does that mean we’re doubling, tripling, quadrupling the number of people that can go to a pub? No.
“But if we can take some further small and safe steps we will.”
His government has also announced new quarantine and business safety measures.
Close contacts who refuse a COVID-19 test on day 11 of quarantine will be forced to spend another 10 days in isolation, while regional Victorian businesses will have to take all reasonable steps to ensure patrons are not from Melbourne or face a $9913 fine.
It follows a Melbourne man illegally dining at a Kilmore cafe, sparking a fresh outbreak in Mitchell Shire.
Both rule changes came into effect at 11.59pm on Sunday.