Australia’s Victoria state reports 42 new COVID-19 cases, 8 deaths

SYDNEY: Australia’s coronavirus hot spot of Victoria state on Wednesday (Sep 16) said eight people died from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours and 42 new cases were confirmed.

Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, a day earlier reported no deaths from COVID-19 for the first time in more than two months and logged 42 cases.

With daily infections falling to double digits over the last several days from highs of 700 in early August, Victoria state authorities have relaxed some lockdown restrictions put in place to contain the virus.

READ: Australia records first day without COVID-19 death in two months

State Premier Daniel Andrews had announced on Tuesday social distancing restrictions in regional areas of Victoria would be eased late on Wednesday.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted, residents of a household will now be allowed to visit one other home, and cafes will be able to seat up to 50 people outside.

“We have driven case numbers down to very low numbers in regional Victoria. That’s taken some time. We stayed the course and now we can open up,” Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.

“That should be something that I think inspires confidence and a real sense of hope that the same thing can be achieved to the best of our ability across metropolitan Melbourne.”

Melbourne, Australia’s second most populous city, is on an extended hard lockdown until Sep 28.

READ: Tensions soar over Australia’s ‘heartbreaking’ COVID-19 border closures 

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