Road out of covid paused


By Jessica Micallef

Premier Daniel Andrews has delayed his highly anticipated announcement about Melbourne’s next step out of lockdown.

Mr Andrews on Sunday said he was taking a “cautious pause” and wanted to see the results of more than 1000 tests connected to a northern suburbs outbreak before easing further restrictions.

He said it “was not safe” to make any announcements on Sunday, but he hoped to do so this week.

“I know plenty of people were looking forward to some good news. And soon, very soon, we will have some,” Mr Andrews said.

“The results may tell us that there are a handful of extra cases, they are all linked and we have the thing wrapped up.

“If that is the case, then we can make detailed announcements about the next steps and we will be able to take those steps.

“It would have been irresponsible today [Sunday] to stand up and say ‘there are so many tests that we do not have results for but I reckon we should wing it’.”

It was expected retail and hospitality businesses would be able to reopen from Wednesday.

“This is not anything other than a cautious pause. This is not a setback,” Mr Andrews said.

On Sunday, the Premier announced further easing of restrictions for regional Victoria.

From tomorrow, Macedon Ranges indoor gyms and fitness spaces can reopen with a 10 person limit per space or class and a maximum of 20 patrons per venue.

Non-contact indoor sport can resume for children under 18 and indoor pools can reopen to all age groups with no more than 20 people on site.

Up to 50 people can attend outdoor religious gatherings and funerals, while indoor services are capped at 20.

Grade 6 and year 12 graduations can go ahead within the school community, food courts can reopen and live music can begin for outdoor hospitality.

As of Sunday night, Hume had the highest number of active COVID-19 cases in the state with 17, while the Macedon Ranges had none.