Premier Daniel Andrews said he expects regional Victoria to be at the "third stage" of the roadmap within weeks, as he defended the decision not to significantly ease restrictions for rural communities who have reported little-to-no cases of COVID-19.
There are 95 active cases in regional Victoria - a decrease of three from yesterday's total.
The state government's roadmap drew criticism from rural leaders, who claimed some communities were being unfairly judged by statewide numbers.
West Wimmera Shire Council mayor Bruce Meyer labelled it a "disgrace", and said it didn't make sense for his shire, which has no active cases and has only reported one case since the pandemic begun.
Premier Daniel Andrews acknowledged his government had thought about "zones", offering a repreive for such rural communities
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Instead, he said his government opted for broader, statewide restrictions - excluding metropolitan Melbourne - in the hope regional Victoria would progress to "stage three" quickly.
"If regional Victoria getting to that five or less cases on a 14-day average was six or eight weeks away, then absolutely, you would have perhaps taken a lot of those small communities that to the best of our knowledge don't have a case, or don't have one now (and changed restrictions)," he said.
"But, given that regional Victoria is likely to get to that (threshold) in just a few weeks, then we think one set of rules - one setting across regional Victoria - is almost better than having almost an endless number."
To advance to the "third step" in the state government's roadmap out of lockdown, regional Victoria needs to achieve less than five new regional cases over a rolling average of 14 days.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the 14-day average of new cases in regional Victoria was "just over five" and expected it to drop within the coming weeks.
"I would expect in the two weeks from now, it will absolutely drop below five, all things being equal and without significant outbreaks occurring," Professor Sutton said.
To move towards the "third step" there also needs to be zero unknown cases detected in regional Victoria for 14 days.
There are currently 4369 unknown cases statewide - a daily increase of four.
MAKING NEWS ACROSS THE WIMMERA:
No figures have been given on the spilt between mystery cases in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
Victoria reported 41 new cases in the past 24 hours, which is the lowest daily increase since June 27, when the same amount of cases was reported.
There are currently three active cases in the Horsham Rural City Council local government area.
There are no active cases in any other shire in the Wimmera or its surrounds.
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