Vic virus cases stay in double figures

Victoria’s coronavirus case numbers continue to sit in the double digits, with 12 new cases recorded in the past 24-hours.

There was also one death, taking the state toll to 811 and the national figure to 899.

It’s the sixth-straight day of cases in the double figures as Melbourne residents anxiously await confirmation that some restrictions will soon be eased.

Melbourne’s 14-day rolling new case average has risen back to 10, from 9.9, and the city’s mystery cases for September 27 to October 10 are also up, by two to 13.

The regional figures remain steady at 0.4 and none, respectively.

Premier Daniel Andrews concedes Victoria’s roadmap out of lockdown is likely to be redrawn and restrictions may be eased with daily COVID-19 figures in the teens.

The city needed a daily average of five cases as well as five or fewer mystery cases to move to the “third step” of the state government’s roadmap out of restrictions on Monday.

While those targets are now unachievable, the premier said some restrictions – mostly social-related rather than economic – will still be eased.

Mr Andrews acknowledged at some point Victorian authorities may have to “call it” and revise the target of an average of five cases per day. 

On Tuesday, the state government announced a $250 million package to recruit 4100 tutors.

They will work in schools next year to help more than 200,000 students who have fallen behind in their learning because of the state’s coronavirus lockdowns.

“This is the single biggest boost to individual learning in our state’s history,” said Education Minister James Merlino. 

Retired teachers and casual relief teachers will be called back for the tutoring roles, Mr Merlino said.

He added data showed one in five children had fallen behind during online learning this year.

The plan is for 3500 tutors to work in government schools and 600 in non-government schools.

Meanwhile, the premier is expected to face a no-confidence motion as state parliament resumes on Tuesday.

Victoria’s most senior bureaucrat Chris Eccles quit on Monday after phone records revealed he spoke to the head of police as the state’s hotel quarantine program was hastily set up on March 27.

Mr Eccles is the second key public official to quit amid the inquiry into the botched program, with former health minister Jenny Mikakos resigning last month.

The flaws in the hotel quarantine system are believed to be responsible for the state’s second wave of COVID-19

Opposition leader Michael O’Brien has called on Labor MPs to back the motion and cross the floor, saying it is “quite clear” that privately, many of them are critical of the government.

But Greens MPs said they would not support the motion, labelling it a stunt.

The opposition only has one chance to move a motion of no confidence in the premier each parliamentary term and will have to wait until after the 2022 state election if it fails, assuming Labor is still in power.

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