New case in Swan Hill LGA, hopes for regional restriction ease and anger over tightened borders

A SIXTH case of coronavirus has been confirmed in the Swan Hill local government area, as Premier Daniel Andrews says a "much more generous set of rules" in regional Victoria remains a target.

Plans to increase the number of patrons in restaurants and other indoor venues beyond the 20-person limit were put on hold in late June as coronavirus cases in Melbourne began an uptick.

Meanwhile, the NSW Government implemented stricter Victorian/NSW border controls this week with new permits limited to border residents or critical services.

People can now only cross the border for work or school if they cannot work or study from home; or for medical care and health services.

Exemptions were later granted for remote border communities who relied on Victorian townships to access food and fuel, while the border zone was expanded.

Mr Andrews said an easing in the bush wouldn't happen "next week", but was still the intention.

He said if there was any risk it might lead to losing control of virus transmission in regional Victoria, the government would err on the side of caution.

"It's still my aim, subject to the sorts of numbers that we see presenting in regional areas, to move to what might be termed a more generous set of restrictions in regional Victoria," he said.

"We've still got very large parts of regional Victoria that have had no cases or very low cases, low numbers of community transmission cases as well.

"So we still are committed to trying at the appropriate time and I can't give you a date — I can indicate to you that it won't be next week.

"But once we get further into multiple 14-day cycles in the Melbourne settings, if we're continuing to see low numbers and we've got a high degree of confidence that we're we're getting to those cases quickly, testing numbers are up, and we're containing it, then there is a strong case to say okay, let's try and do a different set of rules for regional Victoria, further than the differences that are there now."

The new case in the Swan Hill municipality, announced on Wednesday, was the sixth overall and brings the total active cases to two.

Health authorities couldn't confirm if the person was infected in the region nor if that was where the case currently resides.

Victoria recorded 403 new cases yesterday, bringing the state's total to 7125.

The Victorian Opposition said further measures must be enforced to protect regional Victoria from Melbourne's coronavirus crisis.

The Liberal-Nationals called on the government to strengthen its COVID-19 response to minimise the spread.

These measures included increasing the number of temperature checks at lockdown checkpoints before people are granted access to regional Victoria; implementing temperature checks for passengers and staff prior to boarding V/Line buses and trains; mandating the use of face masks on V/Line buses and trains, and; requiring any employee travelling from a lockdown area into regional Victoria to have an approved COVID safety plan.

"We will only get one opportunity to avoid a second lockdown in regional Victoria. We must all do the right thing now to prevent more lives being lost and more of our country businesses closing," Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh said.