Victoria reports 14 new coronavirus cases – with the critical figure the state’s lockdown hinges upon headed in the WRONG direction

Victoria has reported 14 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths as the locked down state struggles to stamp out its second wave of COVID-19. 

The 14-day rolling average of cases made a small jump from 9.4 on Friday to 9.5 on Saturday. 

The state government is hoping to lift lockdown restrictions if it can get its average below five new daily cases and fewer than five mystery cases by October 19. 

As the number of new diagnoses plateau, and the state posts a third day without deaths, Premier Daniel Andrews is set to appear at his 100th consecutive press conference.

The first day of his media marathon was July 3 and the state reported 66 fresh cases.

Since then the number of daily cases has exceeded 700 at times. Three months on, cases have decreased but restrictions on daily life remain.

Strong hopes of an easing of restrictions on October 19, a date flagged by the premier in previous weeks, have dissipated.

Growing outbreaks linked to Chadstone Shopping Centre, a cafe in Kilmore and Box Hill hospital have emerged.

Melbourne needs a fortnight average of five daily cases and no more than five mystery cases during the same period, to trigger the next step out of lockdown.

The city’s current average is 9.5.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Friday the plateau was frustrating but he remained upbeat about the overall trend.

‘We will get on top of these outbreaks, we always do,’ he said.

The Butcher Club cluster at Chadstone numbers 32 cases, up one from Thursday, and has led to five cases nearly 100km away at Oddfellows cafe in Kilmore, after an infected person linked to the Chadstone outbreak dined there.

One Chadstone case who lives in Frankston has led to a cluster of 12 in that suburb, who are mostly family members.

An outbreak at Box Hill Hospital in Melbourne’s east has grown to four cases. Prof Sutton said staff are being tested but could not say how the outbreak started.

Health authorities on Saturday reminded Victorians of new face mask requirements which come into effect on Monday.

All Victorians must wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when leaving home. Alternatives including bandanas and scarves will not be considered sufficient and people who breach regulations are subject to police fines.

‘As restrictions ease (and) movement increases, the effectiveness of a face mask is even more important,’ the health department said. 

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