Victoria State Records 148 New Virus Cases, 8 Deaths

August 24, 2020 Updated: August 24, 2020

Victoria has recorded 148 new cases and eight more deaths, taking the state’s death toll to 438 and the national figure to 525.

The figures come as a political stoush brews over a proposed 12-month extension to Victoria’s state of emergency to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

As virus cases hit their lowest point in seven weeks on Aug 24, Premier Daniel Andrews flagged plans to rewrite the Public Health and Wellbeing Act to allow a state of emergency to last for up to 18 months.

At present, the declaration can only run for six months and is due to expire on September 13 along with Melbourne’s stage four lockdown and regional Victoria’s stage three rules.

Andrews said his government would no longer be able to dictate guidelines on mandatory mask use, isolation rules and business density limits without an extension.

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said the state coalition would vehemently oppose a long-term extension which would allow the premier to unilaterally keep Victoria locked down.

It means the Labor government will have to win the support of four upper-house crossbenchers to pass it into law if and when parliament next sits.

Reason Party MP Fiona Patten and Liberal Democrats MPs David Limbrick and Tim Quilty have all indicated they will block the current proposal.

“An extra 12 months in a state of emergency is an overreach,” Patten told AAP in a statement.

The backlash prompted Andrews to take to Twitter overnight to tell Victorians the proposal was about keeping people safe and does not mean the current lockdown will be extended.

“This does not change how long our current lockdown will last, or increase the restrictions we face.” Andrews said.

The political debate came as new cases in Victoria plummeted to 116 on Monday, the lowest figure since 74 on July 5.

There remain 3701 active cases in Victoria, with 1568 of those linked to the aged-care sector.