Victoria has recorded no new cases of COVID-19 for the last 14 days but Premier Daniel Andrews said ‘there’s too much at stake to rush’ to easing restrictions.
The Victorian government’s initial road map to easing restrictions required 14 caseless days before restrictions are eased on November 23, which will allow for public gatherings of 50 people and private gatherings of 20 people.
Now that 14 consecutive caseless days have been reached 10 days before the set date, there is increased pressure on Mr Andrews to ease restrictions ahead of November 23.
But the government’s website has now changed the requirement for easing restrictions, citing much vaguer terms.
‘Last step: As soon as trigger points/thresholds are met, and public health advice allows,’ the website reads.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was asked why the benchmark for easing restrictions has changed on Friday. He said there is ‘too much at stake to rush out of this, you can’t run, you can’t sprint to COVID normal, it’s got to be done in a steady and safe way’
‘Trigger points means a point for review by our public health team to consider any potential changes to the restrictions, based on case numbers, testing numbers and other factors.’
Mr Andrews was asked on Friday why the benchmark has changed and why Victorians have to wait another week to ease restrictions.
‘Because we had 725 cases at its peak, we had thousands of cases of community transmission or mystery cases,’ he said.
‘This had seeded into our community like no other and that interplay between large complex high-risk workplaces and large complex families is not something that any other state in the country has dealt with.
‘And there’s too much at stake to rush out of this, you can’t run, you can’t sprint to COVID normal, it’s got to be done in a steady and safe way.
‘Today’s a great example of exactly how you achieve great things, be guided by the science, listen to the doctors, bring the community with you.’
Face-mask wearing Melburnians walk their dog and go shopping on Flinders Street in the CBD. Mr Andrews said he would ‘love to be able to make all sorts of announcements today about all the rules coming off but that would not be smart’
The Premier also warned ‘this is by no means over’ and people should not ‘let your frustrations get the better of you’ as it could lead to a third wave of infections.
‘Fourteen days of zeroes is not the same as a vaccine and what we need to do is make sure that we have the biggest buffer possible before we take really big steps towards opening up,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘Because it does serve that purpose. If we can keep numbers very low for an extended period of time we’ll be able to keep them low for all of 2021 or until a vaccine shows up.
‘So, stay safe, stay open, steady steps. Safe and steady steps, that’s the most important thing. People have given too much and we know how it is silent and it’s wildly infectious and it will get away from you very quickly if you let your frustrations get the better of you.’
Mr Andrews said he would ‘love to be able to make all sorts of announcements today about all the rules coming off but that would not be smart’.
‘That (easing restrictions today) would essentially betray all the sacrifices that so many people have made,’ he said.
‘But next Sunday, on the 22nd, we’re very confident we’ll be able to take the steps we foreshadowed last week and give a sense of what that COVID-normal Christmas looks like.
‘And then beyond that, what a COVID-safe and COVID-normal 2021 looks like.’
Victoria recorded no new cases and no deaths from COVID-19 from October 30 to November 12, which is 14 consecutive days
Mr Andrews said mandatory masks will remain in place because they are ‘low cost and high return’ and function as an ‘insurance policy’ for curbing coronavirus.
‘They won’t be here with us for ever but for as long as they serve a really important purpose,’ he said.
Victoria recorded no new cases and no deaths from COVID-19 from October 30 to November 12, which is 14 consecutive days.
‘Yesterday there were 0 new cases and 0 lives lost. There are 3 active cases, 1 with unknown source,’ the DHHS announced on Twitter.
‘Thanks to all who were tested, there were 12,001 results received.’
Face-mask wearing Melburnians stroll through the CBD. Mr Andrews said mandatory masks will remain in place because they are ‘low cost and high return’ and function as an ‘insurance policy’ for curbing coronavirus