Victoria confirms 21 deaths, 410 cases in last 24 hours

 

Victoria has recorded 410 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 deaths, the highly daily death toll recorded during the pandemic.

Victoria's dole queue is tipped to lengthen as official forecasts worsen since the introduction of stage four restrictions.

Modelling predicts unemployment could peak at 11 per cent in the three months to September, a 2 per cent rise on forecasts released last month.

The Department of Treasury and Finance expects job losses to peak at 325,000.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Tuesday showed payroll jobs fell by 1.5 per cent in Victoria through July ahead of the introduction of fresh restrictions.

Modelling predicts unemployment could peak at 11 per cent in the three months to September. Picture: David Crosling
Modelling predicts unemployment could peak at 11 per cent in the three months to September. Picture: David Crosling

About 40 per cent of jobs lost across the state by mid-April had been regained by June 25, but by the end of July this had reduced to 24 per cent.

The accommodation and food services and arts and recreation services industries were hit hardest.

Treasurer Tim Pallas said Victoria, like economies worldwide, was suffering devastating economic impacts caused by the pandemic. "Our economy is resilient and we will get through this, but the best thing right now is get on top of the health emergency so we can begin the task of economic recovery," he said.

The latest modelling forecasts real gross state product to be 11 per cent lower than expected in the June Quarter, and a further 9 per cent lower in the September quarter.

Independent modelling by Deloitte found billions of dollars in economic support by the Victorian government had cushioned the economic blow.

The Deloitte modelling showed the initiatives saved or created more than 81,000 jobs in the June quarter.

Mr Pallas said payroll tax exemptions for Victorian businesses involved in the JobKeeper program would be extended until March.

The extension will also include an exemption on WorkCover premiums for eligible workers retained as part of JobKeeper.

The Department of Treasury and Finance expects job losses to peak at 325,000. Picture: Getty Images
The Department of Treasury and Finance expects job losses to peak at 325,000. Picture: Getty Images


QUARANTINE HOTEL MANAGER AXED IN GROG SCANDAL

A manager at the health department has been stood down over claims he offered to sell quarantined hotel guests alcohol for profit.

The Australian reported a complaint had been made after the official commented about getting booze for those quarantining at the Brady Hotel and the Grand Chancellor.

"(The official) suggested that he could go and purchase alcohol for guests 'at profit' and that he would be charging people for ­delivery. This did not appear to be an ethical or practical way to manage this," a written complaint states.

The report suggests the comment was made during a debate about if alcohol should be given to guests who could be battling addiction or mental health problems while isolating because they are either infected or a close contact.

The senior Department of Health and Human Services official has been stood down and an investigation ordered.

Read the full story here.


YOUNG SWEPT UP IN NEW VIRUS WAVE

Alarming new statistics have revealed the toll of the second wave on our youngest Victorians, with more than 800 children under nine diagnosed with coronavirus since the pandemic began.

It comes as the state equalled its highest number of lives lost in a single day, with 19 deaths and 331 new cases.

Fourteen of the deaths were linked to aged-care outbreaks. The state's death toll now stands at 246.

New figures showed there were 366 active COVID-19 infections among children under nine and 736 more between ages 10 and 19.

The data also revealed a worrying trend for Victorians older than 90 who are among the most vulnerable to the virus.

Of the 492 cases diagnosed in this age range, only 14 have recovered and 406 are still active.

Michael Gantier, a researcher in immunity at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, warned the state's number of daily deaths could worsen before getting better.

He said it was fair to assume cases would rise "to about 40 deaths a day, for a few days," given the high number of cases in recent weeks.

"I was checking the dates where we saw 700 cases last week - and it's fair to say probably in the next seven days we'll likely see more deaths (because of this)," Dr Gantier said. "I'm very hopeful that the numbers are already going down and I think we just have to be resilient."

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos on Tuesday said between 10 and 15 per cent of health workers who had contracted coronavirus had done so at work, with 1097 active cases in this category.

Mystery cases continued to grow, with 100 new cases taking the total to 2903.

Premier Daniel Andrews said community transmission was smaller than it had been in recent days.

Residents at a mobile COVID-19 testing station in Albanvale. Picture: Andrew Henshaw
Residents at a mobile COVID-19 testing station in Albanvale. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

He said transport showed movement around Melbourne had fallen dramatically since curfews were introduced.

"That data bears out that the strategy is working," he said.

"We've got to keep seeing these numbers come down. We've got to keep seeing transmission at a much lower level.

"All of our experts remain convinced and very confident that as we're just into the early parts of the second week, not even yet a full week, of many of stage four's most significant changes, we will continue to see data that forms a trend and we'll continue to see numbers coming down.

"Exactly how long that takes and to what the lowest number is we can get to, only time will tell."

Mr Andrews urged Victorians to be patient as they worked through restrictions.

"It is a six-week strategy," he said. "No one wants to be in these settings but the public health experts have told us, they've made it very clear, this is the only way we'll get the numbers down."

- Kieran Rooney

CHILDCARE TEACHERS NOT VALUED

Almost nine out of 10 early childhood teachers felt the sector was vulnerable because of COVID-19, according to a report.

The Front Project survey of 1500 workers also found eight in 10 felt undervalued and unrecognised.

The research was undertaken in May and June - before the Victorian stage four lockdown was considered.

The teachers also felt the ability of the sector to care for vulnerable children was going backwards, and that families with disadvantaged children were more at risk than before.

Despite the issues, 80 per cent of workers felt the challenges of coronavirus had enhanced their work and helped them learn, and two-thirds felt their jobs were secure.

"Many teachers and educators are gaining new skills, deepening knowledge of practice and strengthening relationships with children and families," the report read.

Education Minister Dan Tehan announced a further 30 absence days for Victorian families to enable them to keep children enrolled while avoiding fees and losing their spots.

Providers have been asked to waive gap fees for those days, but officials from the Department of Education on Tuesday told the federal COVID-19 committee they were not able to make it mandatory.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan announced a further 30 absence days for Victorian families to enable them to keep children enrolled while avoiding fees and losing their spots. Picture: AAP
Minister for Education Dan Tehan announced a further 30 absence days for Victorian families to enable them to keep children enrolled while avoiding fees and losing their spots. Picture: AAP


MOST VULNERABLE THE HARDEST-HIT

Young Australians are bearing the brunt of economic pain caused by the coronavirus lockdown, a new study has found.

The Roy Morgan research, commissioned by not-for-profit Good Shepherd, found half of working Australians aged 14-24 had become economically vulnerable during the pandemic.

The study was based on data from 6000 working Australians since April.

It found those hit hardest financially were the young, migrants and women.

Migrants who have been in Australia less than five years were more likely than Australian-born people to have become economically vulnerable, the research found.

Small-business operators and those working in recreation, entertainment and hospitality were the most likely to have become economically vulnerable.

Good Shepherd chief executive Stella Avramopoulos said the research offered hard evidence that the most vulnerable were bearing the greatest economic impact of the pandemic. "These are shocking figures,'' she said.

Businesses forced to shut during the lockdown will have greater access to mental health services under a multimillion-dollar state government scheme. Picture: Getty Images
Businesses forced to shut during the lockdown will have greater access to mental health services under a multimillion-dollar state government scheme. Picture: Getty Images


$26 MILLION TO EASE MENTAL BURDENS

Businesses forced to shut during the lockdown will have greater access to mental health services under a multimillion-dollar state government scheme.

The $26m program was aimed at helping owners and employees of small to medium enterprises.

As tightened restrictions have financially crippled many Victorian businesses, the government has brought in extra measures to address heightened levels of stress and anxiety.

Small Business Minister Jaala Pulford said it was an extremely difficult time for business owners and their workers.
Small Business Minister Jaala Pulford said it was an extremely difficult time for business owners and their workers.


As part of the program, St John Ambulance will provide accredited mental health support training to chambers of commerce statewide to boost mental health capabilities in local business communities.

Trained workers will be instructed on how to identify and respond to people in distress.

Small Business Minister Jaala Pulford said it was an extremely difficult time for business owners and their workers.

"It's important that we provide practical, accessible support across the board," she said. "As a community we can weather the coronavirus storm in the best shape possible on all fronts."

Contact the wellbeing mental health support hotline on 1300 375 330.

shannon.deery@news.com.au

Originally published as Death toll climbs as 21 deaths, 410 cases confirmed


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