REGIONAL Victoria will continue to operate on a reduced level of restrictions compared to metropolitan Melbourne and could even be considered for an easing of restrictions.

That’s the message today, Thursday, July 23, from the Premier Daniel Andrews after announcing that of the 403 new coronavirus cases in Victoria, only about 13 emerged in regional areas, and most of them from known and contained outbreaks.

The news was good for regional Victoria but the premier stressed we must keep up the good work.

“In terms of a metro regional split, it’s roughly 370 for metro and 13 odd in regional Victoria so that takes it to about 113 cases active in regional Victoria so smaller numbers there.

“Some of those are absolutely connected to well-known and well understood and contained outbreaks (including 27 Colac-Otway Shire) but we are still seeing some cases in regional Victoria because of those outbreaks.

“I know some of those outbreak settings are challenging but we are not seeing the sort of growth in regional Victoria that would see us change our settings dramatically and that’s pleasing.

“On a number of occasions I have talked about the prospect of easing restrictions in regional Victoria at an appropriate time.

“But we simply won’t have that option available to us unless we continue to see those numbers low and in fact drive them down even further.

“That’s why, to everyone in regional Victoria, you’ve not got the same rules as metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, but there are still rules and that’s why it’s important to follow those rules.

“You’re not being requested to wear a mask but if you are out and about and you don’t think you can maintain that 1.5 metres then certainly we’d ask you to wear a mask or face covering and of course follow all the other rules around hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and if you’re feeling ill, even mild symptoms, please come forward and get tested. There are many test sites throughout regional Victoria.

As of yesterday, Gippsland had recorded two new cases of COVID-19, with new cases in Latrobe and Baw Baw. There are 12 active cases in Gippsland, one less after two new cases and three recoveries, as follows: Wellington 0 (13), East Gippsland 1 (2), Bass Coast 1 (6), South Gippsland 3 (8), Baw Baw 3 (9), and Latrobe 4 (14).