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Eye on Qld as Vic’s new virus cases drop

A coronavirus outbreak in Queensland is being monitored closely as Victoria’s new daily case numbers plummet.

Victoria recorded 116 new cases on Monday and another 15 deaths, all linked to aged care.

The national toll has reached 517.

Federal parliament has begun a two-week sitting period, with strict virus controls in place.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Victoria had turned a corner, while admitting the government would fall short sometimes in its coronavirus response.

“On those days when our efforts fall short, none are more sorry than I as prime minister,” he told parliament.

“We do not let those days dampen our hope, nor distract or discourage us from the task that remains at hand.

“We learn from those days, we lift our heads, and we get back at it the next morning.”

Victoria’s cases are the lowest in seven weeks, when 74 cases were recorded on July 5.

Premier Dan Andrews says the state is on the verge of double-digit cases again.

“I’m proud and grateful to every single Victorian who is playing their part in delivering a successful strategy,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

Mr Andrews will ask the Victorian parliament to extend the state of emergency for another 12 months.

“If there is a vaccine before then, or if circumstances change dramatically, you would always adjust your rules,” he said.

Queensland authorities have expanded a public health alert to 67 venues, up from 40, after a coronavirus cluster linked to a Brisbane Youth Detention Centre grows.

The state recorded one new case on Monday, taking the centre’s cluster to 10.

The cluster began from a worker who was diagnosed with the virus last week, with the 77-year-old Ipswich woman continuing to work while infectious.

More than 200 of 500 staff at the Wacol centre have tested negative and more than 110 youths returned negative results.

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Alison McMillan said the outbreak was being monitored “very closely”.

NSW recorded three new cases on Monday, with two cases from returned travellers in hotel quarantine and one linked to Liverpool Hospital.

The border closure debate has reignited after new Treasury analysis showed the unemployment rate was expected to rise above 13 per cent in coming months.

Mr Morrison says borders should only be closed if the health advice demands it, as in the case of NSW and Victoria.

“Borders in principle – within the federation – are not a good idea. And we should avoid having them wherever we possibly can,” he said.

“But it is necessary for those borders to be in place so we can get past this Victorian wave.

“I look forward when the borders can come down, not just there, but when it’s safe to do so, all throughout the country.”

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