Australia's Covid toll passes 800

Australian Defence Force troops disembark at Avalon Airport In Geelong, Victoria. The troops have...
Australian Defence Force troops disembark at Avalon Airport In Geelong, Victoria. The troops have been deployed to Victoria as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist, part of the Australian government's coronavirus response. Photo: Getty
Australia's Covid-19 death toll has passed 800 after Victoria reported another six deaths.

The virus-ravaged state on Saturday confirmed the deaths along with 37 more cases from the past 24 hours.

It means the national death toll stands at 803, with 716 of those in Victoria.

The number of fresh diagnoses is continued good news as the state moves closer to easing restrictions on travel and lifestyle, but Melbourne expects to see more anti-lockdown protest action on Saturday.

Regional Victoria could move out of restrictions as early as next week, Premier Daniel Andrews indicated.

"We are poised to be able to take not just one but potentially two steps as early as next week," he said.

The emergence of a so-called "mystery" case at the Victorian-NSW border town of Echuca is a significant concern to the premier, and he urged locals in the area to get tested if they have any symptoms.

To progress to the third step of its recovery plan, regional Victoria must have a daily case average of five or less across 14 days and record no cases with an unknown source.

Melburnians remain subject to a lockdown curfew between 8pm and 5am, with Mr Andrews standing strong in the face of federal government criticism.

The Melbourne Freedom Walk is scheduled for Saturday on the edge of Melbourne's Botanical Gardens, according to social media. There may also be protests in other locations.

It is unknown how many people are expected to participate, given the original event was taken down earlier in the week by Facebook.

An anti-lockdown rally was held at the Shrine of Remembrance last weekend resulting in 17 arrests and more than 160 fines being issued for breaching health directions.

Saturday was Victoria's ninth consecutive day of fewer than triple-digit cases.

The city's fortnightly average for daily infections must fall to 50 or lower before some workplaces and schools can reopen from September 28.

Comments

The never ending lockdown-lite is destroying the Australian economy. Go Hard, Go Early, might be hard, but Scott Morrison's incompetence is a lot more damaging to the economy and much more worrying to those of us stuck in his incompetent lack of leadership.

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