News State Victoria News Qld CHO reveals death threats as Victoria’s COVID numbers tumble

Qld CHO reveals death threats as Victoria’s COVID numbers tumble

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Melbourne's cafes and restaurants remain takeaway only, but other virus measures have started to ease. Photo: AAP
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Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young has been given police protection after receiving death threats as controversy rages over the state’s hardline border decisions.

Dr Young said the issue had taken an “enormous toll” on her.

“But then this has taken an enormous toll on nearly every single person in our community,” she said.

“Every single person in our community in Queensland has had to give up an awful lot. And we can’t see a clear end to this.”

Dr Young said it helped having the full support of the state government.

The details cam as Queensland reported no new coronavirus infections on Monday, and Victorian infections dropped to an 11-week low.

Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young has had death threats for her hardline stance on the state’s borders.

Melburnians are edging closer to eased coronavirus restrictions, with the number of new infections falling to 35.

It was the lowest number since June 26, when 30 cases were reported.

In more good news for Melbourne residents, Monday’s figure took the city’s crucial rolling 14-day average of new COVID cases to 54.4 – inching closer to 50, which it must hit before virus rules will be wound back further.

There were also six more deaths confirmed on Monday, taking the state’s virus toll to 729. Seven fatalities were reported initially but one was later removed due to duplication.

They were a man in his 70s, a man and a woman in her 80s and three men and a woman in their 90s.

Elsewhere, NSW confirmed four more cases on Monday. One case was from local transmission, with the other three in returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

NSW Health’s Christine Selvey said the case confirmed on Monday was a contact of a previous infection who attended the Eastern Suburbs Legion Club in Sydney’s Waverley.

Back in Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews said there were no new virus cases outside Melbourne on Monday. The 14-day average of new infections in regional Victoria has fallen to 3.9.

“That is a fantastic outcome. That is proof positive that this is not a theoretical exercise, it is a strategy that is working and to see regional Victoria down to 3.9 cases, it means they are on the cusp of taking the next step,” he said.

People in regional Victoria are already enjoying greater freedoms from Monday, with up to five people able to gather in outdoor places from a maximum of two households.

The five-person limit will also apply for religious services that can resume in regional Victoria, if they’re held outdoors with a faith leader.

Authorities are hopeful regional areas might jump two steps out of lockdown by the middle of the week, allowing residents to go out for a coffee or meal.

Melbourne has also taken its first small steps towards emerging from lockdown, after some COVID-19 restrictions eased at midnight on Sunday.

People living alone or single parents are now allowed to have one other visitor as part of a “social bubble”.

Outdoor exercise is extended to two hours, split over a maximum of two sessions, allowing social interaction with one other person or household members.

Playgrounds and outdoor fitness equipment will reopen and the daily curfew will start an hour later at 9pm before finishing at 5am.

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Playgrounds have reopened in Melbourne as the city’s virus controls ease slightly. Photo: AAP

Melbourne will move to the “second step” of eased virus measures, including increased limits for public gatherings and a staged return to school for some students, from September 28 if its 14-day COVID case average meets the government’s target.

The Labor government on Sunday announced a $3 billion suite of cash grants, payroll tax deferrals and fee waivers, described by Mr Andrews as “the biggest package of business support in the history of this state”.

There will be payroll tax deferrals for up to 12 months for businesses with payroll of up to $10 million a year, coming at a cost of some $1.7 billion to the state.

Business groups welcomed the support but renewed calls for the government to reopen the state as soon as possible.

Tensions remained high in parts of Melbourne.

More than 70 people were arrested as anti-lockdown protesters gathered at the Queen Victoria Market, with some throwing fruit at police after raiding market stalls.

-with AAP