Australia

Vic closer to road map out of lockdown

A road map out of lockdown is closer, with meetings under way to outline crucial details on how struggling Victorian businesses can prepare to reopen. It comes after Victoria recorded 58 new infections on Tuesday, including 12 that were reclassified, with five more deaths overnight and the state’s chief health officer’s prediction case numbers would…

A road map out of lockdown is closer, with meetings under way to outline crucial details on how struggling Victorian businesses can prepare to reopen.

It comes after Victoria recorded 58 new infections on Tuesday, including 12 that were reclassified, with five more deaths overnight and the state’s chief health officer’s prediction case numbers would be in the single digits by mid-September.

Jobs Minister Martin Pakula said he went through details with more than 150 organisations, individuals, companies, unions and peak bodies at a meeting on Monday night.

“Myself and the secretary of my department took all of those organisations through what the rest of the week will look like and what some of the criteria will be that are considered as we look to ease restrictions in the coming weeks,” he told reporters on Tuesday morning.

“The discussion last night will be followed up today by a range of industry-specific consultations. There are nine different consultations occurring today, one for the construction sector, one for creative sport and tourism, one for manufacturing, one for community organisations, one for agriculture, one for retail, one for professional services, one for transport and freight, and one for food and grocery.”

There will be two road maps announced on September 6, one for metropolitan Melbourne and the other for regional Victoria.

Mr Pakula said he had had discussions with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce, Australian Industry Group, the Master Builders and the Property Council and the Housing Industry Association.

“I think it’s fair to say that the overwhelming view of those groups so far is the need for certainty and the need to ensure that as we ease restrictions we head in one direction rather than out and back again.”

Two women in their 70s, two women in their 80s and one woman in her 90s died on Tuesday. The deaths were linked to aged care.

There are 421 Victorians in hospital and 20 in ICU.

Victorian chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton said numbers “were low” and forecast infections to be in the single digits by mid-September.

“We will be close to single digits at mid-September, but I don’t know if we’ll already be there or significantly above that because there are still over 100 active aged care outbreaks,” he said.

“There is still potential for transmission in those settings, and so when you’ve got 100 active outbreaks just in aged care as well as others in various industries, a single case can cause 100 and the small business of transmission in a number of outbreaks means you won’t get to single figures.”

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