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Vic records just one new coronavirus case

Authorities are warning Victorians against complacency as people continue flouting isolation restrictions, with just one more coronavirus case confirmed in the state.

The case announced on Friday brings the Victorian infection rate down to levels last seen in February.

There are now 1302 COVID-19 cases in Victoria with 32 patients in hospital, including 13 in intensive care.

Despite the optimism out of the positive update, Premier Daniel Andrews warned Victorians about the ongoing risks.

“People are best to plan that the current settings remain in place for four weeks,” he said.

“I know people are being asked not to do the things that they love but if we don’t have any rules at all, we don’t have numbers like this where we’ve just got one more case.”

Mr Andrews praised Victorians for their resilience and slammed those who ignored social distancing rules.

Police said they had carried out 540 checks at homes since Thursday and issued 67 fines, including for 13 people playing poker and four friends at a house.

Western Bulldogs vice-captain Lachie Hunter is expected to face drink-driving and traffic charges over collisions with parked cars in Melbourne and was fined for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

Penalties for people ignoring restrictions can receive spot fines up to $1652. They can also be taken to court and receive a fine up to $20,000.

The new positive case in Victoria came after 2700 tests were run in the past 24 hours.

Mr Andrews said he would meet Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton to discuss what further steps would be needed before lifting restrictions, including increased testing and contact tracing.

“While we are starting to see some improvement in the rate of transmission, that rate could climb quickly if we lose focus,” Professor Sutton said.

Amid the improving infection rate, the state government announced a $261 million training package to help TAFE and training schools deliver online education.

“Hundreds of Victorians have already taken part in free online courses like food hygiene and cleaning, getting the skills Victoria needs during this pandemic,” Training Minister Gayle Tierney said.

Ms Tierney said international students were eligible for free courses in areas needed to fight the virus, that would help them seek part-time jobs once the situation had stabilised.

Victoria’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 5.2 per cent but Treasurer Tim Pallas on Thursday said it would be the last decrease for some time.

The figure is expected to double in the coming months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In order to fight COVID-19’s impact on jobs and to help set up the eventual recovery, Mr Pallas said the state government would put aside $24.5 billion in emergency funding.

The money will be sought in the supply bills that will be introduced in state parliament’s emergency sitting next Thursday.

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said his party would support the bills but urged the government to outline where these funds would be used.

“We can’t afford to see more money borrowed just to be wasted on cost blowouts or bureaucracy,” he said.

Mr O’Brien also urged the government to lift some bans on activities such as driving lessons, playing golf or recreational fishing, claiming Victoria’s coronavirus results couldn’t be attributed to those restrictions.

Originally published as Vic records just one new coronavirus case

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