Coronavirus-ravaged Victoria has marked a major victory in its pandemic battle, having less new cases than another Australian state for the first time in months.
Victoria reported five new cases on Monday for the lowest number since June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services said.
This brought the state’s total to 20,149 of which 349 are active infections.
Pictured: bulk carrier Patricia Oldendorff which came to Western Australia’s iron-ore exporting Pilbara region from the Philippines and sparked an outbreak that has infected 17. WA surpassed Victoria in new daily cases for the first time in months
Victoria’s new daily cases are plummeting. Pictured is the Covid19data.com.au graph of the 14-day rolling average used to determine when restrictions can ease. Step Three easings come in when it dips below five.
Western Australia had eight new cases on Monday from the bulk carrier Patricia Oldendor anchored off Port Hedland, which has so far been responsible for 17 cases.
This brought Western Australia’s total to 676 of which 14 are active infections.
The cargo ship arrived from Manila in the Philippines last week and is anchored nine nautical miles off the iron-ore mining town on the WA north coast.
Pictured: a workout in Melbourne on Monday. Restrictions lifted on Monday, the same day Victoria was no longer the Australian state with the highest number of new cases
Ten of the infected crew are in hotel quarantine while seven remain onboard the vessel.
Four crew members have so far tested negative: two on the ship and two in hotel quarantine.
Premier Daniel Andrews said Victorians should be proud of their single-digit daily new infection tally.
Once the 14-day rolling average of new daily infections reaches five cases per day, Victoria can move to Step Three easings of restrictions.
It was originally expected that would happen on October 26 but it is now thought the state will meet this target early, on October 19 instead.
Hopes are also rising that travel restrictions can be eased with people eager for the freedom of holidaying away expected to boost suffering tourism operators.
Frustrated Australians will most likely be able to travel to New Zealand in a travel bubble to open long before Christmas, NZ’s Deputy Prime Minister said Monday. Pictured: Wharariki Beach at Cape Farewell on the South Island
New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has raised hopes across the Tasman saying a travel bubble with Australia could happen ‘much sooner’ than Christmas.
Previous discussions about opening a NZ-Australia travel corridor were ditched when Melbourne’s second deadly wave hit in June.
Mr Peters said an early easing of travel restrictions would come long before December 25 as long as both nations had excellent contact tracing.
‘If we have the safe travel and tracing operations running as they should … then I think it [travel bubble] can be much, much sooner,’ he told Channel 9’s Today Show.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 27,040
New South Wales: 4,218
Western Australia: 676
South Australia: 468
Australian Capital Territory: 113
Northern Territory: 33
TOTAL CASES: 27,040
ESTIMATED ACTIVE CASES: 505
Updated: 7.47 PM, 28 September, 2020
Source: Australian Government Department of Health
‘It is over to the authorities to ensure that it happens both ways. Personally if we can ensure that both Australia and New Zealand are safe in what we seek to do, it is very important that we get our tourism back on track as fast as we possibly can.’
Domestic travel within Australia also has the potential to revitalise the tourism sector as Australians frustrated by restrictions get itchy feet.
Interstate borders have been tumbling with the following travel now allowed:
NSW: Anyone can enter unless they visited Victoria in the last 14 days. Anyone who has been in Victoria needs an exemption to enter and has to quarantine for 14 days. NSW residents cannot cross the border to Queensland.
South Australia: Everyone can enter unless they’ve been in Victoria in the last 14 days. South Australia has also just relaxed its rules to allow up to 600 overseas Australian travellers to return to the state each week – more than double the previous intake.
Queensland: Anyone can enter unless they have been in a hotspot during the last 14 days, such as Victoria or NSW. Queenslanders going to Tasmania have to isolate for 14 days and they cannot go to WA without an exemption.
ACT: Anyone can enter unless they’ve been in Victoria recently.
Northern Territory: Everyone can enter unless they’ve been in a coroanvirus hotspot (Victoria and Sydney) in the last 28 days. Those who have been in a hotspot must do 14 days of hotel quarantine costing $2500.
Tasmania: Nobody can enter without an exemption if they have been in a hotspot (including all of Victoria) during the last 14 days. All those entering the state must quarantine for 14 days.
Western Australia: Nobody can enter without applying for an exemption.
MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:
Step one: Came into effect on September 14
Step two: Came into effect on September 28
Step three: When there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The original aim was for October 26 but that has been brought forward to October 19 after the 14-day average of new cases fell below initial expectations
Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23
COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal.
FREEDOMS YOU GET AT EACH STEP OF EASING
Step one – came into effect September 14
– Curfew has been eased to 9pm-5am
– People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)
– Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours
– Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’
– Childcare and early educators to remain closed
– Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption
– Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry
– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only
– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect
– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping
Step two – came into effect September 28
– Melbourne’s curfew lifted
– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households
– Childcare and early educators can re-open
– Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4
– There will be an increase to permitted workplaces
Step three – originally expected October 26, brought forward to October 19
– There are no restrictions on leaving home
– Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors
– A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another
– Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite
– Work from home is encouraged
– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor
– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed
– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment
– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked
Step four – expected in November, dependent on new case numbers:
– Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors
– Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time
– All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place
– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue
– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants
Step five – COVID normal:
– Public gatherings have no restriction
– There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes
– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers
– Schools to reopen as normal
– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records