Victoria takes a big step and further loosens COVID-19 restrictions

A new algorithm has been developed to assist policymakers to know when to open up.

A new algorithm has been developed to assist policymakers to know when to open up. Photo: Getty

Victorians will be able to have a pint without the parma as coronavirus restrictions ease across the state.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday as of 11.59pm on June 21, pubs and clubs will be able to serve drinks without a meal for up to 50 people, while cafes and restaurants will also be able to increase their capacity to 50 patrons.

The same increased limit will apply to galleries, museums and amusement parks, as well as libraries, community centres and halls, cinemas, concert venues, theatres and auditoriums.

Those buying a drink at a Victorian venue will still need to leave their contact details and must be served at the table, not the bar.

Indoor sports centres and gyms will also be able to reopen to a maximum of 20 people per space and a cap of 10 people per group for adults.

Local football teams, soccer clubs and other contact sports will also be able to resume training from July 13, Mr Andrews said.

The directive for all Victorians who can work from home to continue to do so remains in place for the rest of June.

The details of the lifted restrictions, which will also allow up to 50 people at all religious ceremonies, are on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Testing success

It came as the state recorded nine new coronavirus cases, eight of which were either linked to hotel quarantine or a known outbreak and one of which was discovered through routine testing.

Mr Andrews said Victoria’s testing rate of 8,787 tests per 100,000 people would put the state among the top five nations in the world if it were a country.

“The reason that’s important is it gives us a contemporary sense of how much virus is in the community, how it’s presenting … it just gives you evidence and facts, rather than guesswork,” he said.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the greatest easing so far of his state’s COVID-19 restrictions. Photo: ABC

He said National Cabinet had reconfirmed on Friday that the country’s strategy remained suppression, not elimination.

“A day with zero cases is good, but not every day has to be zero cases in order for us to be able to slowly, cautiously, gradually open up,” he said.

“We are going to see more cases, we are going to see outbreaks, that’s what a suppression strategy is all about.”

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said since the start of the month, 81,000 tests had revealed 12 cases of community transmission, where the source of the infection could not be traced back to a known outbreak or returned traveller.

Ms Mikakos said authorities were going to begin focusing testing on some communities that had lower testing rates in recent weeks.

“We’re going to focus on some regional communities that have had low testing rates to date, like Mildura and Kyabram, as well as some of our suburbs such as Dandenong and Brimbank that have had lower testing rates to date,” she said.

“Over the next few weeks we’re going to move to different communities, such as the Melbourne CBD, Moreland, Melton, Colac Otway Shire, Whittlesea, Surf Coast Shire, Hume and Wyndham City.”

-with AAP and ABC

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