Vic testing push as coronavirus cases drop

Melbourne's curfew has lifted and other restrictions have eased as Victoria's COVID-19 cases fall.
Melbourne's curfew has lifted and other restrictions have eased as Victoria's COVID-19 cases fall.

High-risk Victorian industries will have their own target testing as nervous authorities try to ensure the state's coronavirus numbers keep dropping.

While there were three deaths on Monday, new Victorians cases dropped to just five - the lowest daily number since June 12.

Melbourne's crucial 14-day new case average also is down to 20.3.

But testing remains an issue, with only 6807 announced on Monday.

Premier Daniel Andrews has said repeatedly that testing numbers need to stay high for authorities to be confident about further easing restrictions.

Later this week, the state government will announce specific testing for high-risk workplaces such as aged care, abattoirs and hospitals.

Mr Andrews said they would "strongly encourage" staff in those workplaces to be involved.

"One, you find the virus if it's there. Two, you validate that the virus isn't. And thirdly, so you can lock down, you can support people and have them isolated if they've got it," he said.

Jeroen Weimar from the Department of Health and Human Services said he was concerned about testing levels across outer regional Victoria.

He said waste water testing had been expanded and there were now 23 sampling sites across the state.

Mr Weimar said the department had trialled saliva testing with 1000 Victoria Police officers and picked up one positive case in the Dandenong station.

There is good news on the Casey cluster in Melbourne's outer southeast.

Mr Weimar said more than 16,000 people in the Dandenong area had been tested in the past two to three weeks, with a 50 per cent increase in one week.

The outbreak has reached 44 cases across eight households.

"It hasn't spread beyond those households," he said.

The premier said Victoria was well ahead of schedule with its reopening roadmap, after the Melbourne's curfew was lifted on Sunday amid the easing of several other restrictions.

Victorians are being urged to stay the course, with Mr Andrews saying they are close to taking "a really big step".

Under the state's revised road map, Melbourne could have more restrictions eased on October 19.

"We are so, so close and what's important now is that everyone keeps following the rules," he said.

"If we can do it, and I'm confident that we can, we will be able to take big steps in just three weeks."

The latest deaths take the state toll to 787 and the national figure to 875.

Also on Monday, the premier revealed he is yet to talk to former health minister Jenny Mikakos since her resignation on Saturday.

Ms Mikakos tweeted on Monday that the state was well on the way to the "eradication" of the virus, sparking a terse response from the premier.

"That is not the strategy. The strategy is to suppress this virus and that's the national cabinet decision," he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Premier James Merlino told 3AW the state's much-criticised contact tracing system was now working well.

But he is yet to receive a report after Victorian officials visited NSW to look at its contact tracing program, which the prime minister has called the gold standard.

Australian Associated Press