News State Victoria Optimism after Victoria’s new coronavirus case number falls below 100
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Optimism after Victoria’s new coronavirus case number falls below 100

Face coverings have been mandatory in Melbourne since July 23. Photo: ABC News/Simon Winter
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Victoria has recorded 94 new cases of coronavirus and 18 deaths overnight, the first double-digit case figures since July 5.

Saturday’s statistics for the past 24 hours follow hopes by Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton that daily case numbers might drop below triple figures.

The latest deaths takes the state toll to 514 and the national death count to 601.

Since last Monday there have been no more than 150 new daily coronavirus cases.

The numbers have fuelled anticipation about the easing of strict stage four restrictions across Melbourne, which include an 8pm to 5am curfew.

While Premier Daniel Andrews says the numbers are proof the strict lockdown restrictions are working, he remains adamant it is too soon to dramatically relax the rules.

“We can be positive, we can be optimistic. Absolutely, this strategy is working,” Mr Andrews told reporters.

“We are so close to driving this down to very low numbers. We’ve all just got to find a way to stay the course.”

But the Premier was cautious about rushing to a return to normal.

“It is just a little too early for us to be able to settle on (a plan) but as these days pass and we see hopefully through a lot of hard work even lower numbers, that will give us the certainty to be able to map out what the weeks and months ahead look like.”

The path back to normality will be based on “science and data and evidence and the very best of medical advice”, Mr Andrews said.

“Everyone would like that plan today … but that plan won’t mean much if it’s put out now when we’ve still got so many days to go, so many tests to be done, so much work to be done in order to have the clearest picture and the maximum confidence that the program of opening up won’t see us plunging into a third wave.”

One of the first issues to be addressed could be people living alone who have gone weeks with little human interaction due to lockdown.

“This is particularly challenging for those who live on their own and we want to try and support them and indeed every Victorian, with a clear, dedicated, logical but also meaningful plan for opening up, but it is just a little too early,” Mr Andrews said.

Restrictions across Melbourne are due to expire on September 13 but will be reduced gradually rather than cancelled completely.

With fine weather forecast for the weekend, Victorians are being urged to stick with the state’s coronavirus rules.

Breaches remain a major issue, with police handing out 195 fines in the 24 hours to Saturday morning.

They included 27 for failing to wear a face covering when leaving home and 66 for breaking curfew.

Thirteen notices were also issued at vehicle checkpoints, with more than 20,000 vehicles checked across the state.

-with AAP