Victoria continues downward Covid trend

Premier Daniel Andews. Photo: Getty Images
Victoria's Premier Daniel Andews. Photo: Getty Images
Victoria has had two more coronavirus deaths, taking the state toll to 773 and the national figure to 861, as new case numbers continue to drop.

There were 12 new cases on Thursday and the 14-day rolling average for Melbourne dropped to 26.7.

The regional Victorian average remains steady at 1.1.

Cases with an unknown source in Melbourne between September 8 and 21 were down to 37 and there were none in regional areas.

The figures come as the Health Workers Union called for the dismissal of Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, accusing her of "breathtaking incompetence".

The union's letter to Premier Daniel Andrews has been made public ahead of Ms Mikakos' appearance before an inquiry into Victoria's hotel quarantine programme, which led to the state's devastating second wave of coronavirus.

"Sadly, our union's relationship with your government is now officially dead, due solely to the breathtaking incompetence of your current health minister," HWU Secretary Diana Asmar wrote.

"For the good of all Victorians, and health workers, I ask that you insist on Ms Mikakos' resignation, effective immediately."

Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday defended Ms Mikakos and said she had his confidence.

"They (the union) are entitled to a view and they have put that in very colourful terms," he said

"I have confidence in all my ministers, otherwise they wouldn't be my ministers."

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation also backed Ms Mikakos, saying she is a hardworking minister and across her portfolio.

Lisa Fitzpatrick, the secretary of the union's Victorian branch, also questioned the motives behind the HWU statement.

"ANMF does not usually comment on ALP left and right politics, but on this occasion is concerned that matters unrelated to the health portfolio are at play," she said.

The premier also moved to temper expectations about what will be announced on Sunday, when Melbourne's lockdown restrictions are set to be eased.

On Wednesday, Mr Andrews had indicated that the the restrictions could be eased quicker than the state's roadmap indicates.

"Sunday will not be a day of massive steps, the roadmap does not speak to that, it is not a day when we essentially through the doors open," he said.

"It will be, however, steady and safe steps, and that sense of gradual, continual progress is what we are able to do because we have a gradual and continued decline in these numbers."

With Melbourne's crucial 14-day new case average now well below 30, the city is set to move to the next phase of the state government roadmap in Sunday's announcement.

Under the roadmap announced earlier this month, the changes could include allowing public gatherings for five people from two households.

Schools, child care and some workplaces would open, along with outdoor pools, while personal trainers could operate with two clients.

There could be outdoor religious services for up to five people, plus a leader.

Also on Thursday, the state government announced a $11.3 million boost for food relief services to help people in the community who are struggling during lockdown.

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