Thousands of residents from two new Melbourne hotspots have been urged to get tested for coronavirus.
Nine of Victoria’s 35 new cases identified on Monday were in Hallam and Narre Warren, in the city’s outer south-east.
Authorities are concerned the COVID-19 cluster will grow as testing rates have dropped across the state over the past few weekends.
Chief health officer Brett Sutton called on residents from the two suburbs to attended testing clinics if they experience any symptoms.
Residents in Hallam and Narre Warren have been urged to get tested for coronavirus after a spike of cases in the city’s outer southeast
VIC Premier Dan Andrew said weekend testing rates had recently dropped, sparking fears cases could go undetected. A healthcare worker conducts a test in Bendigo last month
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrew warned decreased testing rates could jeopardise the state’s roadmap to recovery.
‘We don’t want a situation where test numbers are not an accurate measure – not enough tests being done for us to have confidence that we have a clear picture of how much virus is out there,’ he said.
‘We don’t want any steps in this safe and steady roadmap to be deferred or to be compromised. It is important that each and every Victorian comes forward and gets tested.’
Victoria recorded 7 deaths on Monday taking the state’s toll to 729 and the national figure to 816.
The deaths include one man in his 70s, one man and one woman in their 80s, and three men and one woman in their 90s. All were linked to age care.
Meanwhile, the city took its first tentative steps out of lockdown, with those living alone or single parents allowed to have one other visitor as part of a ‘social bubble’.
Melbournians have been prohibited from leaving home for non-essential reasons since stage four restrictions were implemented on August 2.
Outdoor exercise is now two hours per day and the 8pm-5am curfew will start an hour later at 9pm.
Melbournians have been prohibited from leaving home for non-essential reasons since stage four restrictions were implemented on August 2. Two masked women are seen walking near the Tan in Melbourne last month
Hospitality in regional Victoria, which moved into eased restrictions on Monday, is expected to reopen as early as this week.
Under the state government’s roadmap, Melbourne’s bars, cafes and restaurants can open for outdoor dining from October 26.
The changes come after a weekend of heated protests in the city’s CBD as fed-up residents called on the Andrews’ Government to ease restrictions.
Footage on social media showed demontrators clashing with police, some throwing fruit as they chanted ‘Freedom’ at the Queen Victoria Market on Sunday.
Seventy four people were arrested with at least 176 fines handed to protesters.
In the past 24 hours, Victoria police have issued another 170 infringement notices, including 25 for not wearing a face covering, 46 for curfew breaches and 23 at vehicle checkpoints.