Victorians have been warned daily COVID-19 cases might not be low enough by mid-September to safely ease restrictions, raising the prospect of more months under lockdown.
University of Melbourne modelling says based on current levels of social distancing, the 14-day case average is likely to be around 63 cases by the middle of the month.
The modelling released by the state government overnight on Sept. 5 argues re-opening at this point would risk a resurgence, undoing all the gains achieved from lockdown.
On Sept. 4, Victoria’s 14-day case average was 116.
On Sept. 6, it recorded 63 new cases and five more deaths.
This takes the state’s total fatalities to 666 and the national death toll to 753.
Premier Daniel Andrews was on Sunday expected to outline a pathway out of stage four restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and stage three restrictions for regional Victoria.
The restrictions, which were imposed for six weeks in August were due to end on Sept. 13.
The government was holding meetings late into Saturday night to nail down how and when Melbourne and regional Victoria will come out of their lockdowns.
The Victorian community and especially Melburnians, who have been subject to nightly curfews, workforce shutdowns, limits to local travel and bans on social visits, want relief.
The government has already flagged that single people who live alone could be permitted to have a visitor as concerns grow about the mental health effects of prolonged social isolation.
Andrews said on Sept. 5 the pathway out of the lockdown “will give us a COVID normal, that we can lock in so that as we look to Christmas and to 2021 we have every confidence we can have a stable set of rules.”
Discontent in some quarters has grown throughout Melbourne’s lockdown, with some expressing opposition to the premier’s approach.
Police arrested 17 people and issued at least 160 fines on Sept. 5 for taking part in a rally against lockdown in central Melbourne.