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The City of Melton now has just 10 active COVID19 cases – as a wide range of new activities are allowed in metropolitan areas from tonight.

All up, Melton has recorded 1145 cases since the pandemic began – making it the sixth-worst affected council area in the State.

Neighbouring Wyndham remains the most affected municipality in the State with an all-time total of 2265 cases, including 18 that are still active. An outbreak in Hoppers Crossing accounted for one new case overnight.

Country councils across our region all continue to have zero active cases.

Since the start of the pandemic, Moorabool has recorded 39, Ballarat 57, Golden Plains 18, Greater Geelmng 366 and Hepburn 2.

** Meanwhile People living in the metropolitan lockdown zone will face a raft of eased restrictions from 11.59pm (Sunday).

Locals in areas including Melton and Wyndham will have no time limit on leaving home – and the distance restriction will increase from a 5 to 25km radius.

Metropolitan outdoor gathering will increase to up to 10 people from two households.

“Non-essential outdoor home maintenance, repairs, renovations and house painting can occur with a maximum of five workers,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“(We will also allow) solo or automated car washing, pool cleaning, mobile or home pet grooming and outdoor photography.

“There will be a full return of allied health services,”

People living in metropolitan areas will also see another set of changes on Sunday November 1, with all restrictions relating to reasons for leaving your home to be abolished.

Two weeks from now, retail, beauty and hospitality services can open – but with limits.- and up to 20 people can attend a funeral.

November 1 will also see changes to group sport.

** Meanwhile there were two new COVID19 cases in Victoria overnight.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said they were linked to outbreaks in Melbourne’s north and Hoppers Crossing

There have been no new deaths since yesterday.  To date, 816 people have died from coronavirus in Victoria.

All up, Victoria still has 137 active cases, including 13 people who are in hospital.

A total of 2.9 million tests have been carried out and 19,295 people have recovered from the virus.

Melton DRIVE-THRU Fever Clinic

Melton DRIVE-THRU Fever Clinic195-209 Barries Road, Melton West, Vic, 3337Due to change in demand the clinic is now closed on Saturdays.TIMES:Saturdays: ClosedSunday & Public Holidays: 9am – 12pm,Monday – Friday: 9am – 4.30pm,Boom gate closes 30mins prior to finishing times.If you have any symptoms below, no matter how mild, get tested and then go straight home.- Fever, chills or sweats- Cough- Sore throat- Shortness of breath- Runny nose- Loss of sense of smell or tasteFor more information on testing visit: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/getting-tested#feverclinic #moorabool #cityofmelton #COVID

Posted by Djerriwarrh Health Services on Thursday, 15 October 2020

So far this year 18,917 cases have been from metropolitan Melbourne, while 1200 from regional Victoria

** In NSW, five new cases have been recorded. Of those, four were in quarantine.

** Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said Victoria must take responsibility for its own state borders and not blame other authorities.

He said Victoria had not technically closed its borders, so New Zealanders travelling in from Sydney had not technically done anything wrong.

Daniel Andrews told today’s media conference it was actually 55 people who arrived in Melbourne on Friday evening – and so far they had been able to track down 23.

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DANIEL ANDREWS’ FULL STATEMENT

There’s been plenty said about how challenging 2020 has been.

And it’s true. This year has asked more of us – taken more from us – than any year, ever.

But 2020 has also proven, without doubt, the incredible courage of Victorians.

We have found it in ourselves to stay the course. And as a state – millions strong – we are defeating this virus.

Other places around the world have not been so successful.

Back in August and at our peak, we reported 725 daily cases. At the same time, the UK recorded 891.

Today, as Victoria records two new cases, the UK hit 16,171. And as we continue easing our restrictions – they are being forced to increase theirs.

We are seeing states and cities, not so different from our own, overwhelmed by their second wave.

Doctors and nurses being asked to decide which of their patients are most worthy of their care.

And communities – entire countries – confronting the reality that this will be “normal” until there is a vaccine.

We have escaped that awful eventuality. With modest acts of greatness and kindness, we have endured this – together.

Today, and on the strength of that success, we’ve been able to progress a number of changes.

I know these changes can’t be absolutely everything everyone wants. But they are the steps we can safely take that will make life a little bit easier.

From 11:59pm tonight, the five-kilometre limit for exercise and shopping will be extended to 25 kilometres. The two-hour time limit for exercise and socialising will also fall away.

Outdoor sports settings like tennis courts, golf courses and skateparks will be able to reopen.

All allied health professionals currently operating will be able to resume routine face-to-face care.

Outdoor real estate auctions will be able to take place with up to 10 people, plus the required staff.

And in good news for those sizing up the scissors or cautiously contemplating a buzzcut – hairdressers will be able to open, with strict safety protocols in place.

From tonight, groups of up to ten people from two households will also be able to gather in outdoor public places. That could be for exercise – or a picnic in the park.

I know some people will reasonably ask why it’s limited to two households – and not five or ten. But by limiting the number of households, we’re limiting any potential spread of the virus.

We’re also able to get thousands more Victorians back to work – particularly those who work outside. That includes tradies undertaking outdoor maintenance and repair work, mobile pet groomers and photographers.

These are the changes we can safely make from tonight.

We need to wait just a bit longer – until 11:59pm on 1 November – to take the rest of the Third Step that will see retail, hospitality and personal care services open again.

This is a timeline that is based on the current advice of our public health team.

But if we continue to track well on the most important indicators – case averages, mystery cases, test numbers and the number of days people wait before they get tested – we may be in a position to move sooner.

These indicators help tell us the story that sits behind a case – and understand how we can safely make our next moves.

My commitment to Melburnians: we’ll review this data each and every day this week and when we get to next weekend, if we can move any earlier and do it safely, we will.

When we do reach the Third Step it will also mean we move from “stay home” to “stay safe” – with no restrictions on the reasons to leave home.

Under this step, all remaining retail will open. Restaurants, cafes and pubs will open. And personal and beauty services will be able to offer treatments to clients – as long as a face mask can be worn.

These businesses will be able to have staff onsite for a ‘dark opening’ from 28 October, giving them time to prepare to open their doors to the public.

We’ll also be able to go a bit further on home visits too – allowing households to have two people and their dependents visit their home once per day.

The other aspects of our roadmap – from accommodation to outdoor sport – will also be introduced.

I know there’ll be plenty of people who want to know when they can head to regional Victoria.

And unfortunately, for now, that’s off the cards. As we’ve seen this week, this virus is wildly infectious – and we all need to help protect the hard-won gains of our regional communities.

Because we are doing so well in regional Victoria, we’re able to make a few changes there too.

From tonight, regional libraries and toy libraries will be able to open to a maximum of 20 people indoors.

People will be able to hold outdoor religious gatherings with up to 20 people – and 50 from 1 November.

And in good news for our regional hospitality businesses, they’ll be able to host up to 40 customers indoors and up to 70 outdoors from 11:59pm tonight. 

Staying safe is more important than ever. So please, keep wearing a mask, keep maintaining your distance – and if you feel sick, get tested and stay home.

I understand that for some these changes won’t be enough. They’ll want more – and they’ll want it sooner.

But the whole way through this, we have been guided by our public health experts and their advice.

None of us ever want to do this again.

We have come too far – sacrificed too much – to give up now. We are so close.

These are the safe, steady steps that will see us out of this – and see us through to the other side.

We can do this.

To protect locals, stronger requirements have been introduced for regional hospitality businesses.Here’s what you need…

Posted by Ballan District Health & Care on Tuesday, 13 October 2020

## COVID19 symptoms include cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose and loss of smell.

If you need to be tested, Djerriwarrh Health Services has a drive-through clinic in Barries Rd Melton, open 9am-4.30pm weekdays and 9am-12pm Sundays and public holidays.

People can also book a test at Darley Medical Centre on 5367 5000.

In Ballarat, you can still get tested at UFS Lucas (bookings 4311 1571), but only if you have symptoms.

You can also use the Call-to-Test Service if you are unable to leave your home. Contact via the COVID19 hotline: 1800 675 398.

People wanting detailed information on the easing of restrictions in different parts of Victoria should go to https://www.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions-roadmaps

Until 28 July 2021, Worksafe must be notified on 13 23 60 when employers or self-employed people become aware of a confirmed diagnosis.

The National Coronavirus Health Information line is 1800 020 080.

You can anonymously report people doing the wrong thing by calling 1800 675 398 (option 4) and police will follow up.

Lifeline can be contacted on 13 11 14 (24 hours), via text on 0477 13 11 14 or via online chat: www.lifeline.org.au

RELATED STORY: Major Milestone for Moorabool in COVID fight

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Main Image: Private Carrie Pittman is among the defence force medics flown in to help test potential COVID19 patients in Victoria. Photo Olivia Cameron ADF

Gabrielle Hodson
Author: Gabrielle Hodson

Online, radio, TV and print journalist since 1993. BA (Hum) majoring in journalism Deakin University. Send us a news tip 🙂