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No virus deaths in Victoria on budget eve

Victoria has recorded no new coronavirus deaths as Australians await Tuesday’s federal budget to see what financial aid might be available.

Victoria recorded nine new cases on Monday but for the first time in almost a month the state did not suffer any coronavirus deaths.

The national death toll remains at 894.

The new cases take Melbourne’s 14-day average to 11.6, with the rate needing to be less than five, and fewer than five mystery cases for restrictions to further ease on October 19.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says while that’s the target, it will depend on the circumstances of the cases at the time.

He’s unsure if Victoria will reach the target in time for restrictions to ease as planned.

“My gut feeling is it will be a line ball. It’s not a certain one way or the other,” Professor Sutton told reporters in Melbourne.

All Victorian students will return to classrooms by October 26, starting with primary school, year 7 and senior students from next Monday.

Regional Victorians will be able to travel to the Northern Territory from next month if cases remain low, with Chief Minister Michael Gunner reassuring Top End residents strict border controls will remain in place.

NSW has gone 10 days without any community transmission of coronavirus, with one new case of a returned overseas traveller in quarantine.

But authorities are urging anyone with even the mildest symptoms to get tested after a drastic drop in testing rates.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has promised a jobs-focused budget on Tuesday to steer the economy out of the coronavirus-driven recession.

But it will also be a financial statement that could see the deficit blow out to over $200 billion, while including income tax cuts to get people spending again.

The climb out of recession will depend on virus case numbers dropping and a vaccine being rolled out in 2021.

Road and rail projects worth more than $7 billion are being fast-tracked to get the Australian economy moving again.

Many of the projects are in the planning stage and some are backed by funding commitments from state and territory governments.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says the projects will speed up supply chains and create thousands of jobs.

Labor infrastructure spokeswoman Catherine King says it’s unclear how much of the funding is new money, arguing the government is focused on announcements over delivery.

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