National News

Melbourne virus rules could ease quicker

Some of Melbourne's coronavirus restrictions could be eased quicker than planned next Monday.

With the city's crucial 14-day average of new cases dropping below the 30 threshold, it now appears certain that Melbourne will move to the next phase of the state government roadmap.

But Premier Daniel Andrews was asked on Wednesday if he was looking at going further than those planned steps.

"Yes, I am. But I'm not in a position to give you the full list of what we're looking at," the premier replied.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng is also optimistic about what is happening in Melbourne, given the latest figures.

"We're doing better than we had hoped, but we really need to make sure that continues," he said.

While another five Victorian deaths were announced on Wednesday, Melbourne's rolling average dropped below 30 to 29.4.

It is down to 1.1 for regional areas, where restrictions are already less severe.

Authorities want Melbourne's new case average between 30 and 50 before they consider easing restrictions next Monday.

Any announcements are expected on Sunday.

Some Melbourne measures were eased on September 14.

Under the government roadmap announced earlier this month, the planned changes next Monday would include public gatherings being allowed for five people from two households.

Schools, childcare and some workplaces would open, along with outdoor pools, while personal trainers could operate with two clients.

There could be outdoor religious services for up to five people, plus a leader.

Meanwhile, the fatalities take the state's virus death toll to 771 and the national figure to 859.

They include two women in their 80s, a woman in her 100s, a man in his 70s and a man in his 90s, and all are linked to aged care.

But only 75 people are in hospital, with eight in ICU, including six on ventilators.

There was also good news on cases with an unknown source over 14 days, with that figure dropping to 41 in Melbourne.

There are none in regional Victoria.

The Casey cluster that was causing concern last week remains stable at 43 cases, with no new cases for three days.

Also on Wednesday, the state government announced an extra $21.3 million in funding for mental health, alcohol and other drugs services.

Mr Andrews also clarified rules around Melbourne residents who worked in regional areas, given the difference in coronavirus restrictions.

They must have a valid worker's permit and they must comply with Melbourne's stricter measures.

For example, a Melbourne worker cannot go to a regional restaurant for a meal.

© AAP 2020