National News

Two Victoria virus cases spark optimism

Premier Daniel Andrews has offered Victorians hope there will be a significant easing of restrictions soon, after only two new coronavirus cases and no deaths.

The new case count is Victoria's lowest since June 9 when no infections were recorded, just weeks before the state's deadly second wave began to emerge.

"Today is a day where we can be optimistic and we can be positive and we can all of us as Victorians look at all that we have achieved," Mr Andrews told reporters on Friday.

"We have stayed the course. We have not let our frustration get the better of us. We have made a conscious decision to defeat this second wave."

Melbourne's 14-day rolling average now sits at 8.7 cases, with 17 mystery cases in the past fortnight, while regional Victoria's average remains at 0.6.

Of Friday's new cases, one lives in the Dandenong local government area and is linked to a known outbreak, while the other relates to a patient at the Royal Children's Hospital.

The Department of Health and Human Services said the patient's close contacts are being tested and isolated

The premier said the state is well placed to ease restrictions on Sunday, albeit in a steady, safe way.

"It will not be everything that everyone wants, because it's not safe to take all of those steps that were outlined in stage three," Mr Andrews said.

Under the government's roadmap out of restrictions, stage three was set to begin in Melbourne on October 26 and would have seen the 5km limit scrapped, the retail and hospitality industries reopened, public gatherings of up to 10 allowed outside and "household bubbles" of five indoors.

The step was moved forward to October 19 but an outbreak at a butcher at Chadstone Shopping Centre meant the city wouldn't meet its case targets in time.

"It is fair to say that if these numbers continue, then we are very well placed to be broadly in alignment with our foreshadowed stage three," Mr Andrews said on Friday.

He confirmed Sunday's announcements will be "much more in the social space than in the economic space", dashing the hopes of those in retail and hospitality industries.

"It would not be safe for us to make those sorts of decisions, this is in metro (Melbourne). There are opportunities for us to expand the settings in regional Victoria," Mr Andrews said.

He said the "hard border" between the city and regional Victoria will remain.

Mr Andrews said golf course clubhouses won't be reopening but the government would try to "give people back some of the things that they love, some of the things that give them a sense of normality".

Meanwhile, there is further good news out of Shepparton, where three people contracted the virus from the truck driver connected to the Chadstone cluster.

Mr Andrews said about 2000 tests conducted on Wednesday have come back negative.

He described the testing effort as a "deeply impressive thing".

A Melbourne truck driver has been referred to Victoria Police after he initially failed to disclose he had visited Shepparton on September 30 while infected.

It only came to light earlier this week after the first of the three infected people went for testing, leaving health authorities scrambling to contain the virus.

The driver, who was infected in the Chadstone Shopping Centre outbreak, previously had admitted to visiting Benalla and Kilmore on September 29-30.

He visited the towns on a worker's permit and illegally dined at a Kilmore cafe, sparking an outbreak there.

Mr Andrews said the day-11 tests of the people of Kilmore who have been in isolation have all been negative.

There are 14 Victorians battling the virus in hospital, though none are in intensive care.

The state's death toll remains at 816 and the national figure 904.

© AAP 2020