Victoria records 90 new coronavirus cases and six more deaths

Victoria has recorded 90 new cases of COVID-19 and six more deaths over the past 24 hours.

The double-digit case figure comes after 94, 114, 73 and 70 cases were recorded over the past four days.

As the government announced regional Victorian will reopen more quickly than metropolitan Melbourne on Tuesday, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said it was too early to say whether the city would move out of its stage four lockdown at the scheduled end date of September 13.



He said it was unlikely the state would have below 10 cases per day by that time, but stressed the main criteria was driving down cases of community transmission with no known source. He said so-called "mystery cases" were declining significantly and could be in single-digits soon.

"If we know where every case in Victoria is today, we could end [the lockdown] in a week," he said, adding that case numbers were consistent with the government's modelling.

However, Professor Sutton said the lower number of people getting tested could compromise plans to end the lockdowns.

Monday's testing figures were the lowest since June, with just 10,153 coronavirus tests processed. "That's not enough. I know there's more respiratory illness out there," Professor Sutton said.

"These are low numbers. It can cause complacency for people who think 'I don't need to get tested' but testing is the pathway to driving numbers down," he said.

Meanwhile, the state government secured a six-month extension of its powers to declare states of emergencies in four-week blocks after a marathon sitting of Parliament that ended just before 2am on Wednesday.

The Andrews government received decisive crossbench support from Greens leader Samantha Ratnam, who returned from maternity leave to attend the vote, as well as Reason Party MP Fiona Patten and Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick.

The legislation, fiercely opposed by the state opposition, allows the government to continue enforcing rules like mask-wearing and physical distancing.

Business consultation 'weeks' late: chief industry group

But Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said the Victorian government's state of emergency power extension was a further hit to business confidence that will make it more difficult to plan investment and return to normal operation.

Mr Willox, who said the government's consultation with business leaders this week came weeks too late, said businesses needed concrete plans for tax relief and other investment-enhancing policies.

"We have six more months of uncertainty. We just don't know when the Victorian government will use those powers or how they'll use them and that just means that business can't plan with any certainty," he told Nine’s Today show.

"I heard from a member company this week who had been planning a $70 million investment in Victoria. They've now decided pretty much to pull that. They have told the Victorian government they will take it elsewhere. Who is going to invest in a state of emergency?"

The Andrews government has repeatedly reiterated the emergency extension has no bearing on the length of lockdowns. Several other states have indefinite emergency powers.

Mr Willox urged Premier Daniel Andrews to announce a payroll tax holiday and a strategy on attracting investment and creating jobs growth.

Jobs Minister Martin Pakula began a round of business consultation on Monday, but Mr Willox said it was too late in the lockdown to begin having those conversations.

"This, quite frankly, should have been done weeks ago," Mr Willox said.

"What business wants is a real plan."

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