Victoria has recorded the lowest number of COVID-19 cases since June 12, with just five new infections in the past 24 hours.

The state’s latest three deaths include one in man in his 60s, one woman in her 80s and one man in his 90s.

All of the deaths were linked to aged care outbreaks.

The city’s curfew was lifted and from today, around 127,000 Melburnians will be able to return to work, while residents will be permitted to meet outside in groups of up to five people from two households.

Premier Daniel Andrews described the state’s plummeting rolling 14-day average – which sits at 20.3 for Melbourne and 0.6 for regional Victoria – as a “very significant” set of numbers.

“We are well ahead of schedule,” he said today.Premier Daniel Andrews announced an easing in Melbourne’s restrictions, with the curfew to be lifted, primary school students to return to the classroom in early October and up to five people will be allowed to gather outdoors. ( Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

“Today’s numbers are proof positive, beyond any doubt, that this strategy is working.

“This is the lowest daily case number for a very long time and it’s not so long ago that we were reporting not five cases, but 725 cases.

“We’ve come a long way. Victorians have given a lot. They have sacrificed a lot. And I am proud and deeply grateful for the work that every single Victorian is doing in partnership with me and a massive team of dedicated workers.”

There are 49 Victorians in hospital, including eight patients in intensive care and four people on a ventilator.

Victoria has 359 active cases of coronavirus.

A substantial amount of restrictions could be lifted come October 19, Mr Andrews said.

“We just have to see it through … as difficult as it is to live under these restrictions, albeit with modifications yesterday, for another three weeks,” he said.

“If we can do it, and I’m confident that we can, we will be able to take big steps in just three weeks.”

The premier stressed it was not yet safe to remove Melbourne’s five-kilometre radius travel restriction, despite the curfew being scrapped today.

“If I could have announced yesterday in a safe way – without compromising the overall objective – that the 5km was off, I would have done that,” he said.

“That is not an option. The modelling and experts tells us that isn’t wise to do now. Three weeks’ time – we will have to wait and see.”

The travel bubble is likely to be axed in the next step of the roadmap in October.

Coronavirus water tracing sites set up

Waste water operations have been expanded in the state, with 23 sites set up across regional Victoria to detect traces of coronavirus.

New sites have been set up at Mildura, Swan Hill and Wangaratta, with a site at Castlemaine to be launched this week.

“Those sites will be an additional way for us to get a sense if there’s anybody moving around the community with any trace of coronavirus,” Department of Health and Human Services testing commander Jeroen Weimar said.

Mr Weimar said COVID-19 cases were still emerging in Melbourne’s north and west, including Wyndham, Hume and Moreland.

A new saliva test has been used to test Victoria Police officers for COVID-19 as outbreaks in the force continue to surface.

“We’ve tested over 1000 police staff across Bendigo and Spencer Street Station as part of the surveillance to see if there was any levels of the virus circulating in those areas,” he said.

One positive COVID-19 case was detected at Dandenong Police Station, with contact tracing underway.

Mr Andrews said he does not think testing would have to become mandatory for high-risk workplaces as they gradually begin to return to full operational capacity.

However, he admitted he could not rule out a testing mandate for workers in high-risk settings.

“I can’t rule out that we make participating in what would be broadly surveillance testing in higher risk environments a feature of some of the decisions that we made yesterday to allow those industries to get close to 100 per cent,” he said.

“I don’t think that it is going to get to that. What I’m saying to you is, we will strongly encourage, and I’ll have more to say about this later in the week.

“We will strongly encourage people working… in a particular setting, to be part of the testing program.”

No contact with former health minister

The premier said Ms Mikakos was someone who “always worked as hard as she could to do the best job she could”.

Victorian Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos has resigned. (Getty)

When asked why he had not spoken to Ms Mikakos, he said he had a “lot of things to do”.

“She is focused on the next chapter of her life. I will speak to her at some point, I’m sure.”

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