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REGION’S CASES DROP

VICTORIA has recorded its lowest daily increase in COVID-19 cases in almost two months, with 116 new infections reported on Monday.

The new infections were the lowest daily total recorded since July 5.

Premier, Daniel Andrews said there were another 15 deaths related to COVID-19 on Sunday, taking the state’s total to 430 lives lost since the pandemic began.

He said all 15 deaths, which included three women and five men in their 80s, four women and two men in their 90s and one woman in her 100s, were linked to aged care outbreaks.

There were 629 people in hospital, including 31 receiving intensive care and 17 on a ventilator.

Mr Andrews said almost 15,000 tests had been processed on Sunday, taking the state’s number of tests over 2.1 million.

He also said regional case numbers had dropped, with just 232 active cases outside of Melbourne.

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) data from Monday wasn’t available in time for print but Sunday’s data showed the south-west had gotten its outbreaks under control.

There were just two active cases in the Glenelg Shire, with no new cases linked to either Portland outbreak in more than 10 days.

South West Coast MP, Roma Britnell said the figures were “a fantastic reflection on the hard work of the community to get the outbreak under control”.

The number of cases linked to an outbreak at Holcim’s Tarrone Lane quarry also stabilised, with neither Warrnambool nor Moyne recording new cases over the weekend.

Warrnambool still had seven active cases on Sunday, while Moyne had none.

The Southern Grampians also had no active cases as of Sunday.

Mr Andrews said the decrease was due to “the good work of regional Victorians right across regional and country Victoria”, but warned now was not the time for complacency.

“That shouldn’t promote the notion in any sense that this thing is done – that you can be complacent in any community – but that is certainly the trend that we wanted to see,” he said.

Mr Andrews and health minister, Jenny Mikakos announced the government would create a new dashboard to share more data on COVID-19 infections with the community.

“We are creating a new dashboard on the DHHS website that will make even more information available to Victorians for the first time,” Ms Mikakos said.

“This will include not only active case numbers and number of deaths, (but) it will have details around outbreaks … (and) high risk locations for the first time.

“People will be able to see in their local area whether there has been an exposure in a particular location from a confirmed case in the community.

“For example, people will be able to search and see if a known case has been in the local shopping centre, local café, workplace or another location.

“That means people can be armed with that information in terms of making an assessment themselves about any exposures they might have had visiting that same location on that day and at that time.”

Mr Andrews said the government would also introduce new legislation to extend the state of emergency for another 12 months from September.

Under current legislation, the state of emergency could only run for six months and was due to expire on September 13.

Mr Andrews said the change would allow for the state to continue to impose restrictions to slow the spread of the virus.

“That is the legal instrument that allows government to enforce rules about facemasks, about COVID-safe work plans in workplaces large and small, density limits in pubs and cafes and restaurants, (and ) requiring positive people to isolate at home,” he said.

“We simply can’t have those important roles in the legal framework that sits behind them end on September 13, because this virus won’t have ended by the 13th of next month.”

Mr Andrews said it was possible the state of emergency could result in some restrictions being in place for up to 12 more months, if the legislation passes through parliament.

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