As Victoria moved to Step Two on its recovery path overnight with expectations the next step could be announced as early as mid-October, health authorities have today announced the lowest case numbers since mid-June.
In a tweet this morning Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported there were just five cases of COVID-19 yesterday, although three lives were lost to the virus.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced a couple of tweaks for Step Two yesterday including the resumption of private real estate inspections and allowing weddings for up to five people.
In addition, the lower case numbers prompted the government to allow on-site learning for apprentices or university students in their final year of study.
Under the new step, groups of up to five from across a maximum of two households can meet outdoors, outdoor pools will open, personal training can resume with a maximum of two people and their trainer, childcare centres can reopen, and kinder will be open from Term 4 as well.
"Recognising a number of important upcoming events for many of our religious communities, gatherings of up to five people can meet with their faith leader outdoors," Premier Andrews said.
"More of our medical, health and allied professionals will also be able to offer face to face services for non-urgent care.
"And of course, reaching the Second Step means we can begin to slowly ramp up elective surgery to 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels."
One of the most encouraging signs in yesterday's announcement was that trigger points to move through the stages will now be solely based on meeting case number targets.
"That means the sooner we hit those targets the sooner we can consider our next steps," Premier Andrews said.
"Making sure we have enough time to evaluate the impact, movement between steps will be spaced at least three weeks apart.
"This, and based on the current projections, means we'll be in a position to consider our next Step by mid-October."
The Premier noted that seven weeks ago the state's average case numbers were peaking at more than 400 every single day, whereas yesterday the rolling case average was at 22.1.
"It's a remarkable thing and an achievement that belongs to every single Victorian. Because with grit and with guts and with heart we are beating this thing," he said.
"We are driving it down. We are winning."
However, the Premier explained people still needed to get tested if they felt sick, keep their distance when they're out, follow the rules and listen to the health advice.
"It also means continuing to wear a face covering. And with more people moving across our city, our public health team have advised the rules around wearing a mask need to be strengthened," he said.
"Victorians will now be required to wear a fitted face mask, covering the nose and mouth. Some of the concessions we made as we adjusted to this new normal - things like wearing a scarf or a bandana or a face shield - will no longer apply."
Updated at 10:37am AEST on 28 September 2020.
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