Premier Daniel Andrews has conceded there could be coronavirus cases in rural communities that have not yet been identified, as he defended the state government's cautious approach to easing restrictions in regional Victoria.
There were no new cases reported in regional local government areas today.
There are now 85 active cases in regional Victoria, while the rolling 14-day average sits around 5.3 new cases a day.
On Tuesday morning, Mr Andrews responded to criticism that current restrictions were too heavy-handed for rural communities who'd reported little-to-no coronavirus cases.
"There has been a bit commentary about why can't communities that have no cases jump well and truly ahead (in the roadmap) and jump right now," he said.
"The key point is that is no cases that we know of."
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Mr Andrews pointed to Apollo Bay as an example, where coronavirus was found in wastewater despite there being no reported active cases in the town.
"(It) just gives you a sense that this virus can be in a local community, and no one knows it, because it does often present very mildly," he said.
"Of course, not everybody who's got symptoms comes forward and gets tested."
Mr Andrews said it wasn't a case of authorities not detecting cases, but rather a lack of people coming forward to get tested.
"The key point is - it's just logic - is that not everyone who's symptomatic comes forward to get tested," he said.
"We need as many of those people to do that as we possible can."
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The Premier was asked if there was a possibility regional Victoria could progress directly to the third step of the roadmap on Sunday.
"Well, they're already taking one, potentially two steps, more than Melbourne. We'll just have to be driven by the data," Mr Andrews said.
"The trend is very good, and we're very proud and very grateful to everyone in regional Victoria who is doing the right thing. I know these rules are not easy.
"if it was a situation where we were asking all of regional Victoria to wait six or eight weeks before they could take those safe, steady steps towards a normal, then, we probably would have said 'okay we need to divide regional Victoria up into different zones based on risk and based on data'.
"I think (regional Victoria) will be able to take some very significant steps soon, because the trend is with us and the trend is good."
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