Virus numbers show hope


Ewen McRae

By Ewen McRae

Melton has recorded 40 new case of COVID-19 in the past week, as numbers begin to stabilise across the state.

The Melton municipality passed 500 active cases for the first time on August 16, with 506 cases now active in the community.

There have now been 933 cases of the virus in Melton since the pandemic began.

Djerriwarrh Health also notched up over 20,000 tests at their drive-in testing site in Melton last week.

Moorabool has just eight active cases of the virus, with 25 in total since the pandemic began.

On Sunday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced that the state of emergency for Victoria would be extended for a further four weeks, until September 13, and urged the community to continue following the rules to drive down cases of the virus.

”We will beat this virus – and extending the state of emergency ensures we have all the tools we need for the fight,” Mr Andrews said.

”I thank every Victorian who is part of our massive team keeping our community safe – you can thank them too by following the rules, which will see us all get through the pandemic.

“These numbers are heading in the right direction.

“I am and always was very cautious, but there is on my part at least, a cautious optimism and a sense of real hope that this strategy is working and that we are seeing numbers fall now.”

Victoria’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton, also expressed optimism about advances for a vaccine for the virus, with trials internationally showing promising signs.

He said it was unlikely a vaccine would be available for at least six months.

“We’ll get a picture of that level of protection in the next couple of months,” Professor Sutton said.

“The fact there are vaccines in phase three development is very encouraging.

“But we have to prepare ourselves for the long-haul if there isn’t a vaccine available.

“Production is happening, and those pharmaceutical companies are betting on making millions if not hundreds of millions of doses without knowing it’s a vaccine they can use. There are parallel processes (of testing and production) so the vaccine will be ready to go on the first day it’s given approval.”