Victoria’s pandemic declaration has been extended for another three months as the state passes 4000 COVID-19 deaths.
The declaration was due to expire before midnight on July 12 but has been extended until at least October 12.
In a statement on Tuesday, Premier Daniel Andrews said he was satisfied COVID-19 continues to pose a “serious risk” to public health throughout the state.
This, he said, justified ongoing public health measures over winter to reduce the risk of transmission and hospitalisation.
A full list of reasons for the extension will be tabled in state parliament.
In addition, the premier has asked new Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton to provide further advice by the end of winter on the threat level of COVID-19.
The state’s controversial pandemic laws passed parliament in November last year, with the new framework replacing the expiring state of emergency.
Victoria was the first state in Australia to impose pandemic-specific laws, which allow the government to create and enforce restrictions such as mask and vaccine mandates.
A further 8740 COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths were reported in Victoria on Tuesday, pushing the state’s death toll since the start of the pandemic past 4000.
Almost 2500 of the deaths have been recorded this year.
Despite infections and deaths remaining high, Mr Andrews stopped short of telling Victorians to don masks outside of remaining mandated settings such as health facilities, aged care and public transport.
“People can make their own judgements,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Mr Andrews will take almost two weeks leave from Wednesday afternoon, the same day as his 50th birthday, before returning to work on July 18.
His newly appointed deputy Jacinta Allan will serve as acting premier in Mr Andrews’ absence.