Updated: Aug 31, 2020
Premier Daniel Andrews is confident Victoria’s COVID-19 curve is flattening despite cases returning above 400 on Australia’s deadliest day of the pandemic.
The virus-hit state is starting to bear the fruits of the week-long stage four restrictions shutting all non-essential businesses in Melbourne.
While noting Victoria’s seven-day case average was falling, Mr Andrews acknowledged the lockdown’s full effects would not be known until next week.
“We all know that a week is not the life-cycle of this virus,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“This is not precise. It’s not exact because it’s all dependent upon literally hundreds of millions of individual choices and decisions that each of us make every single day.”
Victoria reported another 21 deaths and 410 new cases on Wednesday as tensions continued to simmer between state and federal governments over the hotel quarantine scheme.
Sixteen of those who succumbed to the virus in the 24 hours to Wednesday were in aged care.
The record daily tally took the state’s death toll to 267 and the national figure to 352.
Wednesday’s grim milestone was overshadowed by the premier using his daily briefing to take a swipe at federal Defence Minister Linda Reynolds.
Mr Andrews told an inquiry on Tuesday the Australian Defence Force never offered to guard quarantine hotels but Ms Reynolds claimed offers of support were extended to Victoria multiple times.
“I don’t know the federal defence minister. I don’t deal with her. I deal with the prime minister,” the premier said on Wednesday.
The botched program, which used private security companies, was the catalyst for Victoria’s second wave.
Emergency Management Victoria Commissioner Andrew Crisp said he did not ask for ADF help and it was not offered for hotel quarantine in March, adding it also wasn’t discussed in April.
The Public Accounts and Estimates Committee’s COVID-19 Inquiry - where Mr Andrews made his initial comments - will resume on Thursday with Transport Minister Jacinta Allan and Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp due to appear.
Meanwhile, Geelong (179 active cases), Bendigo (53) and Ballarat (22) are becoming an increasing concern to the state government despite their infection rates remaining relatively stable.
Watch the Transport Minister here.