Daniel Andrews is being urged to relax lockdown restrictions ahead of schedule after Victoria recorded only 11 new cases of coronavirus on Monday.
It’s the lowest number of new daily cases since mid-June – but the premier’s road map plans to keep Melbourne shut down until at least 26 October.
Asked if the timeline would be brought forward, Mr Andrews said he would be ‘guided by common sense’ but insisted that ‘it is too early for us to open up.’
Premier Andrews is reluctant to relax restrictions before October 26. Pictured: Melbourne residents in masks enjoy their hour of exercise on the beach
Opposition MPs want restrictions relaxed faster as the lockdown threatens to put up to 400,000 Victorians out of work by Christmas, according to federal treasury estimates.
Melbourne residents have been confined to their homes since 8 July in a lockdown due to last four weeks longer than then shutdown of Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus was identified.
Liberal MP James Newbury said Mr Andrews should make plans to relax restrictions sooner to boost jobs and save businesses.
‘Daniel Andrews refuses to offer Victorians hope,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Instead of rewarding Melburnians for low case numbers, he is keeping the community locked up and under curfew.
‘His restrictions are smashing up businesses, jobs, and livelihoods.’
Mr Newbury said Victoria should follow the example New South Wales which has kept the economy open with up to 20 cases per day in recent weeks.
‘Victorians are furious. Every day, we look over the border into New South Wales, like a convict looking over the jail yard wall, to see a state with similar figures that manages to stay open,’ he said.
Opposition MPs want restrictions relaxed faster as the lockdown threatens to put up to 400,000 Victorians out of work by Christmas. Pictured: A Melbourne park on Saturday
Mr Andrews encouraged anyone with a scratchy throat, runny nose or headache to get tested for the virus. Pictured: Melbourne residents on Saturday
Mr Andrews on Monday said Victoria’s scientists have not advised him to relax restrictions faster than planned.
‘I appreciate why everybody wakes up today, sees a low number, and everyone is hopeful and positive and that is a good thing but we have to stay the course on this,’ he said.
‘While we would all like to bring forward things a month, that is not the advice, not what the data and science says.
‘Even with these low numbers and the great work we’re doing, it is too early for us to open up.
‘We need to take these steps, safe and steady and if they are not steady, it will not be safe.
‘If we rush this, it will not be safe and everything that has been given and done and sacrificed will not be worth much.’
Asked if opening up could be brought forward at all, Mr Andrews added: ‘If circumstances change, if we find ourselves ahead of schedule, not for one day, but in a manifest sense, common sense always guides us.
‘We will look at what sits behind the numbers and then we will have to make a judgment. It won’t be an easy judgment.
‘Has enough time passed for us to be confident that the numbers we are seeing are a true reflection of how much virus is out there? They are very difficult judgments to make.’
Daniel Andrews (pictured) is being urged to relax lockdown restrictions ahead of schedule after Victoria recorded only 11 new cases of coronavirus on Monday
Melbourne’s lockdown has put thousands of Victorians out of work. Pictured: Empty Bourke Street
Victoria recorded just 11 new cases on Monday, along with two deaths.
‘This is not just a good day, this is a great day,’ Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.
‘We are seeing these numbers come down, the strategy is working.’
Victoria’s 11 new cases were detected from 7,164 tests. In July test numbers peaked at about 30,000.
Mr Andrews encouraged anyone with a scratchy throat, runny nose or headache to get tested for the virus.
‘It is a simple but profoundly important thing you can do for your family and every single Victorian family,’ he said.
NSW has recorded four new cases of coronavirus including three returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine and one person linked to a known cluster.
The results were drawn from 7,765 tests, which was almost half the number conducted the day before.
NSW Health said while it was not unusual for testing numbers to drop over the weekend, it would like to see levels above 20,000, particularly in southwest Sydney.