Australia’s State Victoria on Track for ‘COVID Normal’: 14 Cases, 7 Deaths

By AAP
September 19, 2020 Updated: September 19, 2020

Victoria has recorded just 14 new COVID-19 cases and a further five deaths as health authorities say the state heads towards “COVID-19 normal.”

The fatalities take the Victorian toll to 762 and the national count to 849.

It takes Metropolitan Melbourne’s 14-day new case rate down to 36.2, well below the state’s target of 50.

The figures come after police on horseback chased off a group of around 100 people marching against the government’s strict lockdown in the beachside suburb of Elwood on Sept. 19.

Officers made 16 arrests and handed out 21 fines for breaching health directions. The penalties tally exceed the state’s COVID-19 new cases of 14.

Despite police efforts to persuade people not to protest in person, the rallies have commenced for three weeks so far.

A Victoria Police statement on Sept. 19 showed patience was wearing thin, saying “the behaviour of these selfish few who choose to blatantly ignore the directions will not be tolerated.”

Meanwhile, the premier has said retired police officers could be recalled to help conduct household checks.

The next step on Melbourne’s roadmap out of lockdown is from Sept. 28 when some on-site work will return, child care will reopen and some school students will be allowed back into the classroom.

People will be able to meet outdoors for up to two hours with members of one other household, though the five-kilometre travel limit will remain.

The state’s Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton said on Sept. 19 the five-household cluster of 34 cases in the city’s southeast was “under control,” with no new cases linked to the cluster on Saturday.

Contact tracers have acted quickly to contain the outbreak, with government officials speaking with community leaders and members.

By Andi Yu. The Epoch Times contributed to this article.