In Victoria, number of new cases are declining, but death rate still worrisome

Australia’s Victoria recorded 116 new cases of Covid-19 overnight on Monday – it’s lowest number in weeks, suggesting Victoria’s hard lockdown is helping drive new cases down. It is the lowest daily increase in cases since July 5, when 74 new cases were reported.

However, 15 deaths overnight is still worrying. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says despite daily case numbers falling, the state will still be seeing a “number of tragedies” for weeks to come. According to the Premier, the 15 deaths were of men and women aged in their 80s and older and were all linked to aged care home outbreaks.

Premier Daniel Andrews, on Monday, also announced his Government will seek to change laws so that Victoria’s state of emergency can be extended by another 12 months.

Victoria’s current state of emergency is due to end on September 13, however, Premier Andrews believes the state needs more time than that.

According to state’s Public Health and Wellbeing Act, a state of emergency, which must be declared in four-week blocks, can only be extended for a consecutive period of six months. Under the state of emergency, the Chief Health Officer is able to make legally enforceable directions to protect public health such as making wearing masks and face covering cumpulsory, or enforcing physical distancing and other quarantine rules.

The decision to extend Victoria’s state of emergency was however criticised by leaders of the opposition.

“No premier, no politician, should have that degree of power over the lives of Victorians indefinitely,” Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said.