Victoria’s coronavirus roller-coaster has continued, with 81 more infections and a heart-breaking 59 fatalities confirmed on Friday.
The deaths are by far the highest reported on a single day for the pandemic yet and take the state’s virus death toll to 672 (national toll, 737).
However, 50 of the fatalities occurred earlier than the past 24 hours, and have been reported by aged-care facilities due to new federal government requirements.
Victoria’s previous highest daily toll was 41 deaths reported on Monday – but it included 33 fatalities in the sector from as early as July. Of the 15 deaths confirmed on Thursday, only six were in the past day.
The figure of 81 new COVID infections returns Victoria to a welcome downward trend after Thursday’s spike of 113.
Victoria’s COVID cases, past seven days
- August 29 – 94
- August 30 – 114
- August 31 – 73
- September 1 – 70
- September 2 – 90
- September 3 – 113
- September 4 – 81
Premier Daniel Andrews will give more details at a briefing later on Friday.
The figures come just two days before he has promised to reveal plans to take the state out of its Stage 3 and 4 COVID restrictions.
Mr Andrews will announce separate pathways for how and when Melbourne and regional Victoria will come out of respective Stage 4 and 3 lockdowns on Sunday.
There is no confirmation yet that any restrictions will be eased on September 13, and Mr Andrews has refused to deviate from his pre-set timeline for unveiling the state government’s strategy.
“The time to announce what things look like in the weeks and months ahead is not today,” he said on Thursday.
Mr Andrews reiterated the “road map” could not be released as it wasn’t finished and needed contemporary data from the next few days.
“There is an enormous amount of modelling going on at the moment,” he said.
“Literally thousands of scenarios are run through various computers and processes, and that does take some time.”
The Premier also dismissed a leaked document, indicating a Melbourne’s 8pm-5am curfew could be extended by a further fortnight, as out of date.
Meanwhile, Victoria Police has defended the arrest of a pregnant woman for allegedly inciting a planned anti-lockdown protest in regional Victoria on Saturday.
Another “Freedom Day” protest is planned at inner-Melbourne locations, including the Shrine of Remembrance, on the same day.
Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius said police were determined the protest did not go ahead.
“By all means, protest online. Be the keyboard warrior. Say all sorts of unpleasant and uncharitable things about people urging you to behave sensibly, but do it online,” he said on Thursday.
“Don’t leave home to do it.”
He also joined Shrine officials and the RSL in saying using the historic landmark as a protest venue was “incredibly disrespectful”.
“It is sacred ground, sacred ground for all Victorians, sacred ground for the families of all those who have fallen in the defence of our country,” he said.