Victoria on Monday reported 15 deaths from the new coronavirus in the last 24 hours and 116 cases, its lowest daily rise in new infections in seven weeks.
The state, which is almost halfway through a six-week lockdown accounts for 80% of Australia’s COVID-19 deaths due to a second wave of infections.
“We’re going to defeat this second wave,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters over the weekend. “And then we’ll be able to begin the process of opening up. Exactly when that is, we can’t give people a definitive date. But ... my aim is to round out the year with something - a COVID normal.”
In Melbourne, production of reality TV series ‘The Masked Singer’ was halted after “several crew members” tested positive for the virus, Channel 10 said in a social media post.
Elsewhere, New South Wales and Queensland reported five new cases combined on Sunday. Western Australia reported one new infection, the first confirmed case since Wednesday.
As the spread of the disease slows, state and federal governments have been discussing easing the cap on returning Australians of 4,000 per week to help repatriate those stranded overseas, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Sunday.
A spokeswoman for the prime minister’s office did not return requests for comment.
Unemployment To Rise
Effective unemployment in Australia will climb above 13% by the end of September, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Sunday, as nearly half a million people lose their jobs due to the full lockdown of Melbourne.
Releasing modelling from Australia’s Treasury Department, Frydenberg said effective unemployment totalled 9.9% at the end of July, down from the record high of 14% in April when large parts of the country’s economy were ordered to close to slow the spread of COVID-19.
But demonstrating the economic impact of Australia’s second wave of COVID-19 infections, Frydenberg said the number of people out of work will swell by 450,000 during August and September amid a lockdown of nearly five million people in Melbourne.
“We know the road to recovery will be bumpy as we have seen with the setback in Victoria, however, the jobs recovery across the rest of the country gives cause for optimism,” Frydenberg said in an emailed statement.