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COVID-19 Update: One new case in Victoria

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Authorities say social distancing measures appear to be working as Victoria recorded just one additional case of COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the state total of confirmed cases to 1302.

No new deaths were reported, with the death toll remaining at 14 in Victoria.

No new cases were reported in Mitchell Shire (9), Macedon Ranges Shire (5) or the City of Whittlesea (22).

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Victoria’s chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton today urged Victorians to stay vigilant and not erode the gains made in slowing the spread of the virus.

“Now is not the time for complacency. We still have a long way to go,” he said.

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

Premier Daniel Andrews said current social distancing rules would be in place for at least another four weeks.

“This is very, very promising but it’s fragile and we can’t give back all the gains that we’ve made by rushing to change these rules,” he said.

“If we can relax in certain areas safely, where there is a reward and it far outweighs the risk, then of course that’s what we’ll do.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said while lockdown measures could be relaxed in the coming weeks, the Federal Government’s social distancing guidelines could be in place for more than a year.

“There was never a vaccine for SARS or MERS and the social distancing is something we should get very used to,” Mr Morrison told 3AW this morning.

“Certainly while the virus is prevalent across the world, [the 1.5 metre guideline] should be a natural instinct.”

Boost to Victorian TAFEs

The State Government this morning announced a $261 million boost to support the TAFE system through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding package includes a guarantee to lock in nearly $192 million at expected pre-coronavirus levels and an additional $69 million in crisis support to ensure the state’s public training system can respond and recover from the pandemic.

Like universities, the training sector has been hit hard by the pandemic as international students are no longer able to enter the country and many other students can’t pay their fees.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the funding would help TAFEs and training providers transition to delivering more online and remote learning, keep staff on, and continue teaching skills that will be critical in the fight against coronavirus.

“We need a skilled, adaptable workforce to get through this crisis and rebuild – that’s why we’re backing TAFE,” he said.

“This gives students and staff certainty, and it gives industry certainty that they can continue to get the qualified workers they need.”

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