Aus state extends emergency measures despite drop in cases

Victoria, Australia’s worst-hit state, on Monday extended emergency measures to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic, despite a decline in the number of new cases.

Victoria officials said that the State of Emergency would be extended for a further four weeks, allowing for the continuation of stage 4 lockdowns and a nightly curfew for capital Melbourne, reports Xinhua news agency.

The State of Emergency will extend until 11.59 p.m. local time on September 13, allowing police to continue enforcing physical distancing and isolation requirements.

This includes issuing fines ranging from A$200 for not wearing a mask in public, to A$20,000 for continued breaches of stay-at-home orders.

On Monday, the state recorded its highest-ever single day deaths with 25 new fatalities, taking the total to 309.

However the number of new cases was 282, continuing a steady downwards trend. The overall caseload in the state now stood at 16,764.

Despite the declining case rates, state officials said that it was important not to become complacent, and continue to suppress transmission of the virus primarily through limiting movement.

“We will beat this virus — and extending the State of Emergency ensures we have all the tools we need for the fight,” Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“I thank every Victorian who is part of our massive team keeping our community safe – you can thank them too by following the rules, which will see us all get through the pandemic.”

As of Monday, Australia has reported a total of 23,288 coronavirus cases, with 396 deaths.