Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says the Government will work with employers to get a quarter of their workforces tested for coronavirus on a weekly basis, and that employers will want to “stay vigilant” to remain open.

Follow Wednesday’s latest news on our live blog.

Live updates

By Kelsie Iorio

Regional travel — what’s the deal?

 

I thought the third step there would be no restrictions on leaving home and I assumed that would mean regional travel?? Now it seems that is not the case?? When will I be able to see my family in Regional Victoria??

-Confused

 

You’ve quoted the Premier as saying that travel to regional Victoria is going to be limited for some time. But the roadmap allows for it under the Third Step, which the Premier has said we’re on track for on 19 October: “Leave home: no restrictions on reasons to leave home or distance but stay safe” and “Intrastate travel: Allowed across Third Step area (can’t travel to areas with higher restrictions)”.

-Yearning for Horizons

 

As we saw below, Daniel Andrews said today that travel to regional Victoria will be “limited in one form or another for some time.”

 

Confused and Yearning for Horizons, you guys are right — the Third Step breakdown for metro Melbourne does say:

 

  • Leave home: no restrictions on reasons to leave home or distance but stay safe 
  • Intrastate travel: Allowed across Third Step area (can’t travel to areas with higher restrictions)

 

My understanding of this is that if regional Victoria moves to the Fourth Step before metro Melbourne moves to the Third Step (or if that happens at the same time), that will not allow for regional travel because it will become an area with higher restrictions.

 

Will that happen? Will there be a crossover? I can’t give you that info right now, it’s all going to depend on the numbers and the public health advice. But it looks like it will depend on whether the steps line up as to whether regional travel will get the go-ahead.

By Kelsie Iorio

Struggles for school children

 

 

“The number of cases they are seeing through their doors [are] skyrocketing, providing antidepressants to kids as young as 12 and 13 as a result of this lockdown,” he said.

 

Daniel Andrews was asked about this today — he said the aim of the current restrictions on schools is to avoid outbreaks.

 

“I’ve got three kids at home,” he said.

 

“All the settings well beyond schools could potentially be impacted by (an outbreak).

 

“As a parent of children in that age group I know and understand that this is not easy

 
“We will get to a better place but only when it’s safe to do so.”

 

Mr Andrews said he hadn’t seen the letter from the GPs himself, but that people in his office probably had. 

 

“We appreciate and understand that many, many people across the community are doing it tough at the moment,” he said.

 
“We talk about economic repair — there will be personal repair that we have to do also, and we’re absolutely committed to that.”

By Kelsie Iorio

Regional Victoria has ‘low numbers and they want to keep them low’: Andrews

 

The Premier said earlier that travel to regional Victoria is going to be “limited in one form or another for some time.”

 

Mr Andrews said he knows that might not be what regional tourism business want to hear, but it doesn’t look like that will change the plans.

 

“When you think about the benefits of freedom of movement against the risks of the virus seeping into regional communities where there is literally no new cases, only four over the last fortnight, that’s not a fair trade if you like,” he said.

 
“All my feedback from regional Victorian communities is they are very jealously guarding the fact that they have low numbers and they want to keep them low.

 

“The time will come when that border between Melbourne and regional Victoria can come off, but it can’t come off until it’s safe to do so, otherwise all the amazing work that regional Victorians have done, we don’t want to put that at risk.”

By Kelsie Iorio

NSW-VIC border — no concrete plans yet

 

Thanks for all the great work keeping us informed!Given the talk from the NSW premier this morning regarding border closures in other states, has NSW made any indications of what conditions will need to be met before the border with Vic is able to reopen?

-Alex

 

Any word on when they will open the nsw/Vic border?

-LB

 

 

What do we reckon about the NSW VIC border? Surely any day!

-Sydney-sider

 

 

Lots and lots of people wanting to know what the go is with New South Wales reopening to Victoria — sorry guys, I don’t really have much good news for you.

 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said this morning that it’s still it’s too early to confirm how and when the border with Victoria will fully reopen.

 

“(It’s) one thing to have close to zero cases when you’ve got restrictions in place and a lockdown in place, and another thing to see what happens when those restrictions are eased,” she said.

 

We would need confidence Victoria can maintain a reasonable amount of cases as their restrictions ease and it’s too early to make that assessment.”

 

By Kelsie Iorio

More on rapid testing

 

Brett Sutton told us earlier that rapid tests were going through an assessment and validation process at the moment, to compare them to the “gold standard” of testing which is nasal swabs.

 

He said they would need to “as accurate or close to” the gold standard of testing.

 

“As soon as those point of care tests are validated we would roll them out because we know it makes a huge difference in terms of the turnaround time.”

 

“If it’s slightly less accurate but you can get a result hours in advance then we would settle for that because it would make a huge difference.”

 

He said examples of where it might be used would be aged care but, it could be any setting that is seeing ongoing transmission.

 

Reporting by Nicole Mills

By Kelsie Iorio

Daniel Andrews press conference — dodgy link

 

Hey friends, some people have mentioned that they can’t seem to access the link to Daniel Andrews’ press conference from today.

 

I’m not exactly sure what the glitch is here, but if you’re having trouble, you can always jump onto YouTube and search for it there — it’s on our ABC News (Australia) account, and the title you’re looking for is Victoria records 13 new coronavirus cases, four deaths | ABC News.

 

For future reference, you can find many of our press conference streams and stories on that channel.

 

By Kelsie Iorio

Active cases in aged care

 

How many of those active cases are in aged care? Thanks for all the updates

-Cathie

 

Hi Cathie, Daniel Andrews said earlier that there are 147 active cases linked to aged care in Victoria at the moment, and one active case in disability care (that’s a staff member though).

By Kelsie Iorio

Put this one in the suggestion box?

 

Having read the US presidential debate blog, wouldn’t mind a version of our own between Dandrews and O’Brien. Thoughts COVID bloggers???

-Premier debate???

 

 

Still a while to go til the next state election in Victoria, but I personally think one debate blog is enough for today.

 

Speaking of, the first US presidential debate has just wrapped up — our expert bloggers Peter Marsh and Emily Olson are still breaking it all down though, so if you’re interested, head here to check it out.

By Jon Healy

Hi JonYou posted that “the threshold of five mystery cases, which needs to be maintained for 14 days”, but that’s not quite right. We don’t need to *maintain* it for 14 days, we need the total mystery cases over 14 days to be under 5. Obviously we want to maintain it but that’s not the trigger

-mystery case trigger

           

That’s true. From the DHHS website:

          

“Metropolitan Melbourne moves to the Third Step (on the roadmap) when the daily average number of cases is less than five state-wide over the previous 14 days and there are less than 5 cases with an unknown source in the last 14 days (state-wide total).”

By Kelsie Iorio

Victoria’s press conference

 

Hi Kelsie, I missed Dan’s press conference today, would you please post a link so I can watch it now?

-Missed it

 

 

By Kelsie Iorio

You will get your P’s eventually. Maybe not the first possible day you’re eligible. But you will get them

 

Can learners go for drives in Metro Melbourne?

-isooooo

 

Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday that learners can practice driving if they are out for one of the four permitted reasons for leaving home, like driving to the supermarket for example.

 

You cannot go out solely for the purpose of driving practice.

 

By Jon Healy

A big milestone for Tasmania

By Kelsie Iorio

Quick rewind

 

Hi Jon, could you please post the link to yesterday’s blog for the loyal fans who need to catch up? Please and thanks!

-Teresa H

 

 

By Kelsie Iorio

Active cases

 

Do you have the active case count for NSW and Queensland as of today too? 305 in Victoria but wondering what the others are…

-Active Cases

 

Sure do, Active Cases —  Queensland has five active cases and New South Wales has 59 active cases.

By Kelsie Iorio

Park bench reunion

 

Hi there, I am going to meet my parents tomorrow for the first time in many months. We will be outside and both within our 5km zones, are we allowed to sit on a park bench (appropriately distanced) or do we need to walk around? Thank you

-Can’t multitask

 

Hello Can’t multitask, the DHHS says “a picnic in the park with physical distancing is allowed” — so as long as you’re spaced out, and within all the other relevant gathering limits, you should be fine to sit down.

 

If it was me, I’d pack some hand sanitiser and use it before and after using any public equipment just to be extra cautious.

 

By Jon Healy

Pandemic hits university arts courses

Monash University students Paris Balla, Emily Keagan and Ryan Hamilton.

             

Two arts courses at Melbourne’s Monash University are the latest victims of the pandemic.

               

The university is planning to cut its Theatre and Performance and Musicology and Ethnomusicology programs to save money after loss of international student fees.

           

Domestic students like Ryan Hamilton are campaigning against the changes.

               

“I spent a couple of days just in shock that this institution that I moved to Melbourne for was so callously being shut down by the uni,” he said.

             

The university says it will still offer a minor in Theatre and Performance and existing students will be able to complete their studies.

                 

277 full-time jobs and up to 103 units are being scrapped across the institution due to a “revenue shortfall” from the closure of Australia’s international borders.

               

But Ryan hopes the university will reconsider its proposal to scrap his Theatre and Performance course.

             

“Monash’s course is unique in that it’s open access, it doesn’t rely on auditions or anything to get the education which means that you get a real diversity of ability,” he said.

           

“I think (it) makes for a stronger theatre industry and cultural industry across Australia.”

         

Reporting by James Hancock

By Kelsie Iorio

Hi

 

Good afternoon from the first of your PM bloggers for today.

 

We see heaps of you have questions for us today — we’re working to answer as many of them as we can.

 

By Jon Healy

Victoria Police daily numbers

Victoria Police issued 101 fines to people for breaching the rules, including 16 for failing to wear a face mask when leaving home and 23 at vehicle checkpoints.

                 

There were 28,394 vehicles checked at the checkpoints 912 spot checks were conducted on people at homes, businesses and public places across the state, taking the total to 470,359 spot checks since March 21.

By Jon Healy

Missed out the first part of Dan’s conference, how many active cases today? Thank you.

-Helen

               

There are 305 active cases as of today.

By Jon Healy

Getting kids back to school

There have been a couple of questions asked about getting kids in grades 7-10 back to school.

               

The Premier and CHO have assured that that is one of their priorities. Nothing particularly specific, but they said they can’t afford to open up too soon.

              

“We are so close to seeing this off, and then we can have not just moments of normality, but a COVID-normal that we can lock in,” Mr Andrews said.



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