Separate regional Victoria roadmap to be released

With the Victorian Government set to release a roadmap to move out of current restrictions this weekend, the Central Goldfields Shire officially became free of any active cases of the virus on Wednesday.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services data for September 4 there were 81 new cases of COVID-19 overnight and 59 deaths — this includes 50 people in aged care who passed away between July and August. 

On Thursday 113 new cases were recorded across the state, the first time daily infection rates have crept back into triple figures since August 30.

The new cases brought Victoria’s total to 19,336, with 2295 still active.

Fifteen more deaths were recorded, nine of which occurred prior to Wednesday, bringing the total number of deaths in Victoria to 591.

Fourteen of the 15 deaths were linked to aged care facilities.

The Pyrenees Shire, which has had a total three cases, was the only local area to have an active case.

The Central Goldfields (two total), Mount Alexander (9), Hepburn (2) and Loddon (4) were all free of active cases as of Thursday.

The larger regional centres of Ballarat and Greater Bendigo also recorded significant drops in cases over the past weeks.

Ballarat had 61 total cases, with four active, while Greater Bendigo had 105 total and nine active.

On Thursday regional Victoria had 126 active cases, while Melbourne had 2125.

This week the State Government announced a roadmap would be released on Sunday to move Victoria out of its current stage three restrictions in regional areas and stage four in Melbourne.

With lower case numbers in regional parts of the state, dedicated roadmaps will be released for both regional Victoria and Melbourne based on localised health advice.

Premier Daniel Andrews said dedicated roadmaps will help both metro and regional areas safely move out of restrictions.

“Regional Victoria and Melbourne are experiencing this virus in different ways,” he said.

“That’s why we need a dedicated regional roadmap to plan for — and protect — regional Victoria.

“We want to open up the whole of our state in a steady and safe way. Because no matter your postcode, we’re in this together.”

Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes will lead consultation with regional partnership committees, employers and unions to keep regional communities safe and help local businesses rebuild.

“Discussions are underway with a range of industry, unions and community organisations to inform the final work on Victoria’s roadmap to ‘COVID normal’, including a separate roadmap to protect and support regional Victoria,” a statement from the Victorian Government read.

For information about consultations contact Business Victoria on 13 22 15.

Victoria’s State of Disaster, which came into effect on August 2, was also extended this week.

The State of Disaster was set to expire on Wednesday this week but has been extended to 11.59 pm on September 13 to bring it in line with the current State of Emergency, also set to expire on that date. Both can be renewed.

The State of Disaster largely relates to Melbourne areas and is a legal mechanism to underpin a number of the current stage four restrictions, allowing Victoria Police and Protective Services Officers to enforce the public health directions such as the 8 pm to 5 am curfew.