REMOTELY ‘RIGHT’

THE Swan Hill municipality has not recorded a new coronavirus case in weeks, leaving many hopeful restrictions could be eased within the next two weeks.

The number of cases remained at three, as of yesterday, when the state recorded an increase of seven cases from the previous day.

With the curve flattening and Victoria's state of emergency coming to an end May 11, Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh has called for students to be allowed back into the classroom.

Mr Walsh said the Victorian Government needed to follow expert medical advice that says our schools are safe.

He said the government was "refusing to listen to advice from Australia's Chief Medical Officer and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) endorsing a return to school in term two".

He said while parents were doing their best to make remote learning work, with other states re-opening schools, it was time for Victoria to do the same.

"Too many families are feeling the pressure of having to simultaneously work and home school their children," Mr Walsh said.

"It's frustrating that while other states have made the decision to re-open schools, Daniel Andrews is digging in his heels and ignoring the advice of medical experts.

"Everyone in our community has made big changes in their lives to make sure we protect each other, which has kept the number of positive cases recorded locally very low.

"The experts are telling us our schools are safe. With the right health safeguards students must be able to return to school."

But, Premier Daniel Andrews said students learning remotely was "right" until the state's largest ever testing expansion of COVID-19 showed it was safe to ease stay-at-home measures.

"A million kids roaming around Victoria, tens of thousands of teachers, hundreds and thousands of parents — that's hardly consistent with staying at home," Mr Andrews said.

"We are clear, Brett Sutton is clear, parents are clear."

Mr Walsh has also hit out at the government's continuous decision to ban fishing and hunting.

He said Victoria was the only state to have completely outlawed recreational fishing, even from the river bank.

"Victorians who choose to live in communities close to places where we can go out and do solo recreational activities, like hunting or fishing, shouldn't be stopped from getting out to do what they love," Mr Walsh said.

"But, this is not about driving hours to go on a weekend golfing or fishing trip.

"Common sense would suggest that as long as social distancing rules are followed, country people who do not need to do unnecessary travel to get to their nearest river, lake, wetland or reserve, should be allowed to keep doing the activities they love."

The Victorian chief health officer, Dr Brett Sutton, said there were 140 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Victoria that may have been acquired through community transmission.

Of the total 1361 cases, there have been 1105 in metropolitan Melbourne and 217 in regional Victoria. Eighteen people have died from the virus in Victoria.

The Victorian Government has announced a massive expansion of testing, which will help inform decisions about slowly lifting restrictions ahead of the state of emergency being reviewed.

"Up to 100,000 Victorians will be tested for coronavirus over the next two weeks as part of a major testing blitz across the state," Dr Sutton said.

"Victorians have done a remarkable job sticking to the coronavirus restrictions, and by staying home have saved lives. We are now asking Victorians to again play their part and get tested if they have symptoms, because the more tests we do, the more data we have about the prevalence of coronavirus in the community.

"People with even the mildest of symptoms including fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose or loss of sense of smell are encouraged to get tested.
"Our daily case numbers are still low which is encouraging. They prove that our physical distancing measures are working but this is not a time to relax our strong approach — this disease can get away from you very quickly as we have seen overseas."
There are only four reasons for Victorians to leave their home: food and supplies, medical care and care giving, exercise, and work or education.
Meanwhile, the NSW Government has announced from today, two adults and their dependent children will be allowed to visit another household. 
Face-to-face teaching will also resume from May 11, and then will consider accelerating a full return to school as soon as possible.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said this update on visits to households has been made to reduce social isolation and improve mental health.
"It extends the existing guidelines of being able to leave home for 'care or medical purposes'," Ms Berejiklian said.
"The two adults need not be related.
"The last thing any of us want to see is a huge spike in cases.
"We need anyone with even the mildest of symptoms anywhere in NSW to stay home and come forward for testing."
There is no limit on how far you can travel within NSW so long as you respect the rules and the reason is consistent with one of the four categories for leaving home.