Victoria Enroute to Ease Restrictions: Seven Deaths, 41 New COVID Cases

Victoria Enroute to Ease Restrictions: Seven Deaths, 41 New COVID Cases
Police check permits and ID of drivers at a checkpoint in Little River for traffic coming from Melbourne into Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula in Geelong, Australiaon Aug. 14, 2020. (Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Seven more deaths and 41 new cases is the latest COVID-19 snapshot from Victoria.

The figures released on Sept 13 for the past 24 hours take the state’s death toll to 723 and the national count to 810 since the start of the pandemic.

The number of new diagnoses keeps the state on track for its plan to ease lockdown restrictions in coming weeks. Regional Victoria is expected to ease its restrictions within days.

As that occurs, Premier Daniel Andrews said road checkpoints may be stepped up to make sure Melburnians don’t escape to the country.

On Sunday News Corp released footage of a woman being dragged from her car by a police officer at a vehicle checkpoint about 45 kilometres north of Melbourne.

The footage suggests she had refused to give her name to the officer and was subsequently forcibly removed from the car after refusing to get out herself, saying she felt unsafe.

Victoria’s two weeks of low infection rates have prompted Andrews to indicate the possibility that regional Victoria could jump two steps out of lockdown by mid-next week.

This will mean, among other things, that regional residents would very soon be able to go out for a coffee or meal.

He said he wasn’t worried about Melbourne residents trying to get to regional areas because travel limits of 5km are still in place in the city for some time.

But he said police checkpoints on key roads out of Melbourne could be bolstered to ensure compliance.

“It may go to a new level to make sure that only those who absolutely need to be travelling into country Victoria are doing that,” he said.

By Andi Yu