News Coronavirus ‘Getting on top of it’: Vic virus cases tumble again, amid more fatalities

‘Getting on top of it’: Vic virus cases tumble again, amid more fatalities

victoria 216 virus
The majority of Victoria's recent deaths have come from people in aged-care homes. Photo: Getty
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Victoria’s daily coronavirus infections have fallen again, with 216 confirmed on Wednesday.

There have also been a further 12 fatalities, taking the state’s COVID toll to 363.

It is the fourth day that Victoria’s new cases have been below 300 – with 279 last Sunday, 282 on Monday and 222 on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s figure was the lowest in a month, Wednesday’s is the lowest since July 13.

Premier Daniel Andrews will give more details at a briefing later on Wednesday.

Earlier, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it appeared the state was getting on top of its deadly second wave of the coronavirus.

“Obviously the number of deaths we have seen is very upsetting and disturbing,” he told Nine’s Today show on Wednesday.

“But those [case] numbers look like we are getting on top of it now, which is welcome and we’ve got to stay the course.”

victoria regions virus
Authorities are worried about a fall-off in Victorians presenting for virus testing.

But Mr Andrews has warned that the recent run of lower case numbers might be linked to a drop in the number of Victorians being tested for the virus.

The state government has urged residents to keep getting tested – after revealing a 17 per cent drop in the number of residents presenting for tests in the past week.

“We don’t want that to be an inhibitor in any way of moving to a new phase and a new set of rules,” Mr Andrews said.

“We have to have that confidence that we are getting a complete or as close to a complete picture as we possibly can.”

An inquiry into Victoria’s hotel quarantine program heard this week about 99 per cent of current cases can be traced back to returned travellers who were berthed at two Melbourne hotels.

Melbourne is in the third week of a strict Stage 4 lockdown, which includes an 8pm-5am curfew. It is due to end on September 13.

The rest of Victoria is under level-three restrictions.

The Prime Minister has again rejected criticism of the federal government’s preparedness for the crisis in aged care.

While the breakdown of Wednesday’s fatalities is not yet known, the majority of deaths reported in recent days have been linked to aged car. By Tuesday, 230 aged-care residents had already died in the pandemic.

A clear majority had lived in facilities regulated by the federal government.

But Mr Morrison has continued to deflect federal responsibility for the crisis, despite the aged-care royal commission last week castigating his government for not having a plan – an assertion he rejects – to protect the elderly from the virus.

“We regulate aged care, but when there is a public health pandemic, then public health, whether it gets into aged care, shopping centres, schools or anywhere else, then they are things that are for Victoria,” he told ABC breakfast television on Wednesday.

The aged-care outbreaks are being blamed on contract workers moving across multiple facilities. Some had opted not to get tested if they had symptoms because they feared losing work and wages.

Aged care provider BlueCross reportedly asked staff at one centre in northern Melbourne to work across multiple sites as recently as last week.

“No employer should be doing that,” Mr Andrews said.

Victoria’s aged-care crisis will be under a legal spotlight in coming weeks.

Heritage Care, the operator of state’s worst-hit nursing home Epping Gardens, faces a class action filed by the son of a deceased resident.

-with AAP