Victorians eye exit as new infections ease
Victorians will soon understand the path out of strict lockdowns as aged care workers are offered extra incentives to stop job-hopping across nursing homes.
After weeks of grim figures, Australia's coronavirus case numbers are finally tracking in the right direction again.
The country has recorded 829 cases over the last seven days compared to 1500 the week before.
Victoria is also beginning to get its deadly second wave under control, with the state logging 73 new cases on Monday in its lowest daily increase since early July.
It also recorded another 41 deaths, but only eight occurred in the past 24 hours. The remaining 33 were added to the tally after being reported to the state's health department.
The national coronavirus death toll now stands at 652.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will outline his exit strategy for coronavirus restrictions next Sunday.
The restrictions are due to expire a week later on September 13.
"It is too early today to settle that road map and to lock that in," Mr Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.
"Another week's data is critically important to make sure the strategy continues to work."
Australia's deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth is sceptical about Melbourne's stage four restrictions ending on September 13.
"It's hard to see that happening," Dr Coatsworth said.
"I think the numbers need to be a lot less than they are now."
Dr Coatsworth pointed to NSW and Queensland, where there are fewer than 10 new cases each day.
But Victoria's restrictions are devastating the national economy and the federal treasurer has grown increasingly angry with the lack of clarity around easing them.
"This has to be the biggest public policy failure by a state government in living memory," Josh Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra.
Mr Frydenberg appears to be laying the groundwork to blame Victoria for a large slice of the national economic collapse when new figures are released on Wednesday.
The Australian economy is expected to shrink by six per cent, the biggest hit since the late 1950s.
With federal parliament back in session, the Morrison government is also facing more uncomfortable questions about aged care failures.
Embattled Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck has pledged another $563 million for the sector as he tries to regain control.
Senator Colbeck is also expanding a bonus scheme designed to stop aged care staff working across multiple facilities.
But he is providing no guarantees.
"There are some workers we do require to work across more than one site," Senator Colbeck told reporters.
New polling suggests people have cooled on the Commonwealth over its stewardship of nursing homes, and overwhelmingly side with the premiers on internal borders.
© AAP 2020