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Australia’s Victoria reports steady downward trend in COVID-19 cases

Australia’s coronavirus hotspot of Victoria reported on Monday a steady downward trend in daily coronavirus cases, putting the state on course to ease more restrictions by next week.

The two-week average rise in cases in Melbourne, the state capital, dropped below 35 on Monday, on track to meet a target of below 50 cases by Sept. 28 when the authorities have said they may relax restrictions in the city.

Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city, is on an extended hard lockdown until Sept. 28, but authorities lifted some restrictions last week allowing residents to leave their homes for longer periods for exercise and shortened a nightly curfew.

The strict restrictions on movement have brought the daily coronavirus cases in the state down to double digits after it touched highs of 700 in early August.

“It’s welcome news for Victorians and welcome news for Australians,” Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth told the Australian Broadcasting Corp television on Monday.

However, Coatsworth urged the state’s residents to strictly adhere to the social distancing rules despite cases slowing down significantly in recent days.

“When Victorians come out of restrictions, particularly in Melbourne, the complacency has to be avoided,” he said.

Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, reported two deaths from COVID-19 and 11 cases in the last 24 hours. A day earlier, the state reported five deaths and 14 new cases, its lowest rise in daily infections in three months.

Australia has so far recorded a total of just over 26,900 novel coronavirus infections and 851 deaths, with Victoria accounting for the bulk of both.

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