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Victorian cases and deaths rise as stage four lockdown descends

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Victoria has recorded 439 new cases of coronavirus and 11 more deaths as its stage four lockdown kicked in, while research showed earlier the stage three lockdown potentially saved hundreds of lives.

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Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the deaths on Tuesday, bringing the state’s toll from COVID-19 to 147 and the national toll to 232.

All of the 11 deaths are linked to outbreaks in aged care facilities.

The rising death toll comes as Victoria settles into a new stage four lockdown in Melbourne, bringing with it expensive fines for people not self-isolating.

Andrews on Tuesday announced a coronavirus isolation crackdown with more police, Defence and Health department personnel.

Infected people caught breaching the rules for a second time will be slapped with a $4957 on the spot fine, which will grow to $20,000 if the matter goes to court.

An additional 250 police, 500 ADF and 300 health staff will monitor the compliance.

“That team is growing substantially and that means every single positive case will be door-knocked multiple times, random and repeated doorknocks,” Mr Andrews told reporters.

It comes after new research revealed the state’s earlier stage three restrictions in Melbourne potentially saved the lives of hundreds of people.

Research from the Burnet Institute, published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Tuesday, found the state’s response to the second wave of COVID-19 averted 9000 to 37,000 cases between July 2 and 30.

Based on the World Health Organisation’s mortality rate of 3.4 per cent, the restrictions potentially saved 1258 lives.

Among stage three restrictions was the lockdown of 12 hotspot postcodes, the complete quarantine of several public housing towers in Flemington and North Melbourne and the closure of state borders in early July.

A six-week lockdown was announced for residents of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire from July 9, then the compulsory use of masks in public settings was introduced.

Researchers said the reproduction rate of the virus before lockdown was 1.75.

Last week, Andrews said that number was hovering about 1.0.

Under the latest restrictions, residents of metropolitan Melbourne must follow an 8pm-5am curfew and can’t travel more than 5km from home for shopping or exercise.

Regional Victoria is now moving to stage three restrictions, with restaurants, cafes, bars and gyms to shut from midnight on Wednesday.

-AAP

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