Victoria’s new coronavirus case numbers dropped to 14 on Sunday, and the premier, Daniel Andrews, declared: “This is a good day.”
However, five more Victorians have died, including four people in their 80s and one in their 90s.
In New South Wales, there were two new cases and one death, of a man in his 70s, announced on Sunday, amid concerns of a new spread in Sydney.
NSW health authorities are concerned that coronavirus may have spread to passengers who rode with a Covid-19-positive taxi driver over 11 days across western Sydney, as well as patrons of restaurants and bars the driver visited along the NSW south coast.
There were also two new cases announced in Queensland on Sunday.
Andrews, announcing his state’s lowest daily increase since June, said he was confident of being able to make some “significant announcements” next Sunday about easing restrictions.
Victoria’s chief health officer, Prof Brett Sutton, described 14 new cases as a “very good” number, and said the state was on the “home stretch”.
As of Sunday the rolling 14-day average was 36.2 in metropolitan Melbourne, below the target of 50 set to enter the next step of easing restrictions.
However, Andrews also acknowledged the number of tests being conducted in Victoria had dropped – to levels lower than NSW – and urged everyone with symptoms to get tested.
“Any symptoms, don’t put it off – get tested today,” he said. “It’s the most important thing you can do.
“It’s when things bubble along and get to very big numbers and you don’t know [why] and the proxy for testing becomes the number of people who have been admitted into hospitals needing machines to breathe. That’s when you got a real problem.”
He pointed to a cluster in Melbourne’s south-eastern area of Casey, which has grown to 40 people, when stressing the potential damage that can spread from one individual.
Andrews also responded to anti-lockdown protesters being arrested in Melbourne on Saturday: “It’s unlawful, it’s selfish, and it can achieve but one thing and that is the spread of this virus.”
There are 743 active cases of Covid-19 in Victoria, 20 of which are outside Melbourne and 117 are health workers. There are 94 people in hospital with the virus.
In NSW, a man in his 70s died of Covid-19 at Sydney’s Royal North Shore hospital on Saturday after catching it “recently” from the CBD cluster.
Although testing in NSW is higher than in Victoria, rates have also dropped off recently, and on Sunday the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, urged anyone with symptoms to be tested.
Of the new cases in NSW on Sunday, one is a returned international traveller in hotel quarantine.
Health authorities are, however, focusing their attention on the other case, a taxi driver – who is believed to have contracted Covid from Sydney’s Liverpool hospital cluster – who drove passengers for 11 days while potentially infectious.
NSW Health is urging anyone who caught a taxi on 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 September in the Sydney suburbs of Moorebank, Bankstown, Chipping Norton, Liverpool, Lidcombe, Warwick Farm and Milperra, to monitor for symptoms and get tested if they develop symptoms.
The taxi driver also visited several venues in Sydney and the NSW south coast while believed to be infectious.
Anyone who visited Campbelltown Golf Club on 16 September between 2pm and 4.30pm in the TAB area and Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill in Mollymook on 13 September between 12.30pm and 2.15pm is considered a close contact and required to self isolate for 14 days.
Patrons of Milton Ulladulla Ex Servos Club on 12 September between 2pm and 6.15pm, and Carlo’s Italian Restaurante Bar & Seafood in Ulladulla on 12 September between 8pm and 9.30pm, are also considered close contacts and are required to self isolate for 14 days.
Visitors to Picnic Point Bowling Club on 18 September between 3pm and 6pm, Campbelltown Golf Club course on 16 September between 9.30am and 2pm, and Wray St Oyster Shed in Batemans Bay on 12 September between noon and 1pm are considered casual contacts of the case.